Autumn leaves rustle and memories float like ghosts in my mind.
I’m a child again, cold hands wrapped around a cider-filled mug and life is full and safe and warm.
Fall bike rides through our neighborhood; warm crackling fires; toasted marshmallows hung over hot embers on twigs gathered from the yard.
My friends and I play teacher and schoolhouse and pioneers. We travel the Oregon Trail and live off the land in our imaginations and isn’t that what childhood is all about?
Daddy comes home just before dark and I can still feel the wool of his suit, scratchy and wonderful against my cheek as I hug him when he comes through the door; mom makes dinner and we all wrap close around the kitchen table saying grace and eating food ’til our bellies are filled to the brim. Never hungry. Never without. Not then.
Prayers and stories and lullabies. Bubble baths, stuffed animals, and PJs. Blankets and stars and sunrises.