The Evening Hour

That dusky hour between afternoon and night has always been my favorite time, ever since I was a little girl.

Dinner is simmering, the family drifts closer after a day of busyness, little hands are washed, candles are lit, and stories are told.

Outside, the little green peeper frogs start their song by the creek, birds rustle up their nests, and leaves crunch as muddy little shoes tromp in from play. The chickens cluck their way up the hillside path.

And yet, this often seems the craziest hour.

The baby is squealing for his supper. Tiny hands are joyfully counting out forks (“I help you, Mama. How about everyone gets three spoons tonight?”) while spilling the dishwasher’s once-clean contents. Our scurried steps bottleneck behind the refrigerator door, as an eager helper tries to lift milk from the cluttered shelf. A plate rattles.

It’s a dance of waiting, of serving, of receiving. A listening ear, a deep breath, a laugh. A little taste here, a swipe of a cloth there, a spill, a stir.

The hurry crashes into the quiet… a collision of hours. We soothe it into unity. Excitement and hunger merge with rest and comfort.

The scent of garlic wafts through the air (slightly browned, but rescued before it burnt!), the baby slurps happily and drums with his favorite spoon, and moonlight drifts in.

A prayer of gratitude.

We settle for a story or two, in between bites and reminders, perched on those simple, rickety wooden chairs, and then the song of baths and brushing, lullabies and lavender begins.

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