Butterscotch bars filled with toasted walnuts bake in the oven while the sparrows squawk at one another in the background fighting over the food I put out for them. I bake and plan supper while waiting for my husband's return from his Mt Whitney trip. Backpacking to the pinnacle of Mt Whitney with a few friends has been on the horizon since January. Months of preparation: training hikes, making lists of needs, being fitted for and purchasing new hiking shoes, ordering supplies and packing and repacking the backpack until everything fit just right.
And now the week has come and gone. They all made it to the top and back and now he is on his way home. It was a grueling adventure to mark the end of his 60th year in this life. It is a joy to celebrate his accomplishment and a real blessing to celebrate the man whose shoes I cannot fill.
The breeze tosses the palm leaves about and rustles through the tangerine tree as daylight begins to slink lower in the sky. I wait. I hurried about earlier to water the plants outside and feed the birds, all jobs Jim does when he is home. I kept forgetting plants and having to backtrack, and while writing I looked out the patio door and noticed I forgot to put bird food in the gourd feeder. He has such a fine tuned system and I fall short. But the plants are still living and the birds are still fighting over what I gave them and the butterscotch bars smell great.
It seems as if a lot of time has passed since the morning hours, the time I had begun to worry a little. I knew I might not hear from Jim once they started the hike upward, but I had expected to hear from him last night. Finally late this morning I got the call they were about an hour from the Mt Whitney trailhead; they didn't make it down before dark the day before and had to camp on the mountain another night. He said, “We are a little beat up, but we made it to the top and that is all that matters.”
I am thinking about the difficulties in life I allow to keep me from making it to the top. Sometimes the things holding me back aren't really so tough, but with a little negative thought to blow things out of proportion I am soon overwhelmed and doubting I can reach my goal. A friend and I had a heart-to-heart chat this week about the ways we get overwhelmed and brew up a good dose of doubt as to whether or not we are truly cut out to be the counselors God has called us to be. We were able to talk one another back to a place of truth; we just have to get back to the basics and believe God will make us able to do what He has created us to do.
Brussels Sprouts roast in the oven filling the house with their nutty, bitter scent, and I get a message saying they've gotten caught in traffic and will arrive later. So, I slow down the process and watch the light in the sky soften into a dusky glow and listen as the bamboo wind chimes make their woodwind music. I love this time of evening. No matter how long the delay, my husband will arrive home this night, piling camping gear by the door and throwing a big bear hug around me. The timing will be just right. He will have reached his goal.
And as you can see he made it home.