The backyard is a cubicle of wilderness. It is our space, contained within feeble walls of implied confinement and suggested safety, and we tend our daily mantras beneath the shifting shade of time simply passing.
The lawn is always a picnic away from making memories. The sandwiches are served a few feet away behind brick and glass with a side of fruit and varying levels of enthusiasm. You can hear the birds if you close your mouth and open the window—their ringtones are fantastic.
Outside is a painting hanging on walls in tin-framed rectangles, and the detail is amazing. The brushstrokes make me feel something like alive.
It was bedtime and the boys were tired and full of denial. They asked to sleep outside and they dragged their pillows toward the backdoor without a moment of hesitation, picked a spot as hard as any other, and they lay down upon it, hopes and all.
Twilight tilted and the stars came out for us to borrow. We took what we could see, and left the rest for those that had the want to gaze upon them.
Who needs a nightlight when the cosmos glow with the brilliance of wonder and the countless answers? The backyard is our patch of an endless quilt, sewn by a sea of twinkling grandmothers, and the children slept warm and safe as the stitches grew forever outward.
I sat in a chair and left my mind to wander, out of this place, down the hall, through a yellow wood, and further still, all the while the night feasted upon me with its tiny wings and high-spun warnings, and everything circular stayed to spinning.
The sky, I believe, is full of change, and we can either find our feet upon paths brightened with offers of staggering choice or we can hide in the darkness and mock such courage through cowardly fear as loud as the world will let us. Ignorance hides beneath the black robes of power, and it is a parasite on the tender flesh of strength and promise.
The stars know more than the darkness ever will, and my boys are far wiser than the shadows will ever be. They lay wrapped in down, and they let the beasts of the night have the moment to feed upon them, but bites heal and bumps fade back beneath the skin that bore them.
When the backyard is full of laughter and love and splendor, it is not the walls we celebrate, but the sky that stays forever open. It is not the dark of night that we welcome, but the warmth of stars that shine across it. Life should be nothing less than a grand invitation.
There is much to do and feel and learn, and we do not let a few bug bites stop the progress of adventure. The stars are free in more ways than one, and they are always there for those that dare to dream beneath them.
Any step up is the right direction.