The earth's full tilt toward late-summer sun causes radiant heat and light to shimmer through front arch window, a brightness diffused only by energy efficient glass covered by a thin sheer of gathered lace. This is the time of year when I know what will come with the sun's lowering across early evening sky.
Children's noisy chatter filled with wonder and excitement strike louder than any grandfather clock. Six o'clock, and six growing feet pound rapidly down the stairs towards me standing before supper on kitchen stove. My very own herd of cattle.
Longest legs arrive first, arms fluttering wide round my own legs and encircling me with their sense of what is important. All three beckon me to come, come where they are, where they've seen the miracle worth seeing over and over, a place in the stairwell where chopping blocks, simmering taco soup, and dirty measuring cups hold no power.
"Rainbows? Yes, I know!" I say, seeking to dissuade fresh smiles that reach their eyes. "I've already seen them. Aren't they wonderful!?"
Such logic doesn't work, though. "Come see them again!" cries little girl. "Make them dance" yells her younger by three minutes brother.
I could say no, be like T.S. Eliot's Prufrock, saying, "And indeed, there will be time." But fall, winter will both be here at the turning of the page. Short men will grow tall.
So, I step away from my labors, turn towards the waiting throng.
There is no locking hands, no dragging this woman forward like wedding picture we call "Doug dragging his new wife back down the aisle." Instead, these three leave me behind and race ahead, again the pounding, but this time upwards as I plod more slowly behind.
It is then that I lift my head to see the needlework piece from my childhood that I pinned just last Saturday to the wall at the stair's landing. Growing up, I always thought it was beautiful--sequins hand-stitched by my own mother, three-dimensional butterflies. But the message? Totally lost on the child me. Who doesn't take time to look at rainbows? How ridiculous to even have to tell people that.
Only twenty years later do I understand. It's a choice to take time that is not automatically there to take, time that is always filled with something else I may not want or need to step away from...but that I can choose to carve out if I reorder my list of what is important.
Dinner will be late...again.
With children laughing and jumping, I reach up, take monofilament between my thumb and forefinger, and spin each prism. Unmoving rainbows suddenly take flight around the room like dozens of butterflies disturbed in a field or a carousel set into action.
Downstairs, the side door opens. Husband is home from work. I need not worry--he knows where to find me (not in the kitchen).
Emerson hears him, too, and shrieks with delight, "They're dancin'! They're dancin', daddy!!! Come see!"
And much like me, he too comes to see the miracle of promise, the bow set on our wall, reminding us to pause, give thanks for these happy times, and laugh along with our children as they each try to catch the impossible and hold beams of colored light.