It is one of those magical nights we get here on the prairies. Where, so far north of the equator the day lasts forever. We make up for our hours of darkness. We buried Gabriel on the shortest day of the year. And now, it is the longest day. It is that time of day, on this the longest day, that photographers call the magic hour. And I am sitting on my front porch. Thinking. Praying.
The ice cream truck is cruising our neighbourhood, and he has stopped to sell ice cream to a group of children and their parents. It is late, but school is out, and you can tell that these children have moved to a summer bedtime. They are gathered around the truck, and the truck music is playing Greensleeves. And I am mesmerized by their happiness and the sadness in the lyrics. I am struck by the laughter and joy of small children, and the sorrow of a man who wishes a woman would love him. I am held by the thoughts of a baby who should be asleep upstairs in his cradle. I am captivated by sorrow. I am remembering the last verse, in which he sets his love free.
And I look away, tears burning in my eyes, to the school, and I see the sunset instead. I see how the red brick has turned pink. I see the golden light from this magic hour, I see the trees that my neighbours’ father planted in 1920, when he was a student there. I see the windows of the classrooms stripped bare of decorations, waiting for next year’s children to decorate them. I see the silence of a building, waiting for the voices and the energy of children to fill it. And I see the loneliness of my own soul. The sadness for tiny Gabriel, who could not stay for long, who will always be our first son, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. And I see the hope for another child, one who can stay with us.
And in the golden light, with children laughing and picking out ice cream, I can see that tomorrow is another day. A fresh day. Golden sunset drawing to a close, and clouds are lightening, and dusk will be here, I can see that there is a future. I smell roses on my bush, I can see that we are resilient. Strong. Faithful. Hopeful. We will believe in hope, in joy, in beauty and in truth.
I take a deep breath, and I proclaim to myself, in a golden world, in a world that is filled to the brim with sorrow, and with joy, in a world that children laugh, in this world, in all of my worlds, I am ready.
I am ready to start again, to try again. To start with a conception at sunset, and to wait through the long and dark hours of the night, to pray for a baby’s cry at sunrise.