Mr. Darcy, Grace and Darlene

Friends came for supper
this week.
It was Grace’s first time at the farm.
She is three.
She played in the tipi,
which she calls the “pow wow,”
because she has been to several
and knows how to round dance.
She gathered eggs
and ran with the goats.
She met the paca boys
and ran around in their pen,
again and again,
which warmed my heart
because watching children run freely
in nature
is one of life’s great joys.

Now this is a turn of events! Alpacas people-watching: Grace running in their pen.

DSCN3324People watching animals:
Grace and Carol looking at the cattle on the other side of the fence

While we adults visited
before supper,
Grace “cleaned up.”
From the big coffee table
in the living room,
she gathered shells and stones.
From a prayer table in the bedroom
she gathered burnt matches
and heart-shaped stones and glass
and a small blue Earth marble.
I reassured her anxious mother
that it was all fine with me
as Grace went about her good work,
wisely saying, every time her mother gave her “the look,”
“I’m cleaning up.”

Grace cried when she left,
and I know she’ll be back,
so I didn’t…
I started cleaning up,
putting things “back in their place.”
There is a spiritual tradition
that when you have been somewhere
that is meaningful to you,
where you have experienced great beauty
or that thin place
between routine daily life
and something more,
you leave a pile of stones,
a cairn.
When I looked at Grace’s pile
there on the living room table,
I was struck by the elegance
of her construction,
and then I realized
three-year-old Grace
had built a beautiful cairn.
So fitting,
so impishly wise,
of Grace—
as if to remind me
that she is
a thin place.