“It’s a big one,” he said, and I knew just what he meant, feeling the weight in my bones.

And then at 11:30 I was there on the beach, staring at the ocean. A million miles away. Lathered in a ridiculous amount of suntan lotion. My feet in the sand, the sun on my skin. Knowing how nervous they felt, feeling the nerves myself, in a profound sort of way.

I looked toward the sky with yet another prayer. And there it was for me, right there, right above the beach.

That’s a good sign, isn’t it? I thought. The covenant, the promise.

And I began to count the moments, endless as they felt, to the Time of Results, 2:00 pm, an eternity. Miles and miles away.

And then there was this.

What could that mean? This show in the heavens, this divinity above the beach that is Nags Head, North Carolina. Glory. Grace.

A great report, he said in the text. Prayers answered. Good news. Rejoicing.


In January


I’ve long held that January is the only civilized month. With its winter arms and 5 o’clock cloak, January offers an extraordinary opportunity to slow down, curl up, hide away. In fact, I love January because it is the one month in which it is deemed perfectly respectable to do so.

In January, I read. And by that I mean I fall slowly and deeply into wonderful, winding novels that take entire afternoons that stretch into evenings that go right on with me to my cozy you-can-never-have-too-much-down bed. I skate through centuries and across continents and just for a while, take leave of the incessant demands that are my life.

In January, I sit. Our living room is built around a real wood-burning fireplace, and our neighbors know if there is smoke coming from the chimney, Cathy is In Residence.  There is just something about that fireplace, and me. I would rather sit and stare at its flames than watch TV or sit on a beach or play on my iBook. The woodsy smell, the pops and cracks, the constant tending, the red hot embers—I stare like a young lover, mesmerized.

In January, I knit. I know. So 70s. But I love the feel of yarn and the rhythm of the pattern and clickclickclick of the needles. I find deep satisfaction in making something useful. And I rejoice in the creation of something so beautiful, just Right There.

In January, I promise. I tell myself it’s within my power to make time to do these things any time of the year; that there’s no reason I can’t take an entire afternoon IN AUGUST to sit quietly, or read, or create.

And I believe. Until inevitably, February comes, and the pause button releases.

Until then . . .