only once

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Things never happen the same way twice.
― C.S. Lewis

The morning is slow, rare for us on any day, especially on a Saturday. Mark has left town for the weekend and the kids and I spend the first hours of day moving from bed to table to couch, reading, lounging. “I think I’ll make a bow and arrow today,” Liam blurts and quickly disappears to his room. Moments later he emerges from the dark hallway, the red book in tow. I don’t yet see the cover tucked up under his arm but I know it; he and Burke have sifted these pages (once gifted to them by our dear friends Kevin and Latonya) so many times, I imagine they have memorized them by now. I quietly observe as he studies the images designated as “dangerous,” and then again he disappears, only this time to the garage. “Hey mom! Do we have any bone or flint?” he shouts. His question floats through the walls to my own smile, “Maybe we should head into the woods for that one,” I suggest. It’s almost lunchtime but no one cares. They’re in their bedrooms dressing for a mini-adventure in the woods.

We gather in the yard under the sky, now cloaked in clouds. As we near the woods, the sun unveils its midday power and illumines our entrance to the woods, and we rush into our private Narnia like frightened deer, as though Winter’s requiem might return before we arrive, closing the door between our worlds again. At once, I have forgotten the barren beauty of winter, now replaced with green, soft earth. “Look at this!” the boys summon me to a place of broken pottery, carefully selecting the best pieces. Liam slides one into his pocket; later in the afternoon, he’ll hammer that piece  into an arrowhead. We tread deeper, and the sparse light chases us as we explore the shadows of the wood, searching for the perfect sticks and abandoned feathers. Lost in this world, it seems we’re away for hours climbing and discovering, but only an hour has passed when we return. Our lunch is awaiting us, and suddenly we’re hungry.

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