It is a Sunday afternoon in summer. The first summer without Hans. Manfred and Noah are three hundred miles away on a job in Anchorage. Olivia, Josef and I are back home after church and have eaten our spaghetti, with ice cream for dessert. Olivia leaves for work and Josef hops on his bike. I clear the table and head outside.
It is an astonishingly beautiful day. Which makes it worse. Sundays can be especially difficult for me. I miss having everyone at home all together.
I take a turn around the garden. I often go to there to think and to remember. I pause at the far end, beyond the cabbages and the potatoes, out in the little meadow, and look back at the house, our sweet little house all covered with flowers and filled with memories.
The sun casts shadows on the freshly mowed lawn as I drift back into the not so very long ago. In my mind and heart, I see our four children rolling around on the grass with a couple of goat kids, a puppy, a bunny or two. They are loafing and laughing and just messing around and being together. Some of the best moments of my life have been spent secretly watching the four of them all together on that lawn.
It’s not just Hans I miss. It is all of them together as happy children on a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I so want to turn back the clock to one of those precious days. Or to turn it forward to when we will all be together again.
But I cannot.
And I miss them so very much.
So, I am out there alone in the little meadow beyond the garden, crying of course – crying hard. I look over at the house again, then at the workshop and the animal pens. Where are my children? I listen for shouts and laughter and I hear nothing. Nothing but a little sparrow whose call says Mommy I’m OH-ver here.
Then, I look up. Because up is the only place to look. Up is where Hans is.
And then, I see them. Three young eagles circling high overhead. They gain altitude on the rising summer heat without ever flapping a wing.
I see a fourth eagle. It zooms at the other three and then zooms away again in a provoking sort of way, like Hans used to do when he was being rascally. It seems to keep apart from the others, but not too far away. Rather like how it is now with us folks on the ground.
Then, a short time later, or maybe it was a long time, the fourth young eagle rejoins the others and they begin playing eagle games, soaring for the joy of it, just messing around and being together on a Sunday afternoon in summer.
Four of them. Together.
From some secret place, I wonder if the mother eagle is watching them.