It's been cold and rainy these last few weeks, so the Tuesday potlucks have wound up in our kitchen. Since it's always a school night for me (we say that now-retired Tom and the farm are on "full wife-support"), I usually head upstairs, abandoning about twenty kids, with their attendant plates, crumbs, beerbottles, and dogs, just a little bit after the banjos, dobro, and fiddles get going, along with a little hollering and footstomping. From upstairs, the music is pleasantly mesmerizing, a nice transition to sleep.
It reminds me of an afternoon when I was 9 years old, and my brother and I were, as usual, messing around in the woods behind our house, digging holes, floating twigs down the ditch, and climbing trees. We heard, at first faintly, then more strongly, lovely, far-away music, music with no rational explanation, coming from beyond the trees and pastures. We looked at each other speculatively, and I, for one, really, really thought that maybe, just maybe the magic predicted in church was actually happening and this was, just maybe, genuine angel music--that the barrier between Northern California and heaven had broken down, and the music of the spheres was leaking through. In our prayer-drenched world this seemed perfectly logical, and, in fact, we could think of no other explanation.
We crept from tree to tree towards the melody, which grew louder and louder, and finally revealed itself to be nothing more transcendental than our distant neighbor, a retired band director, playing his French horn on his front porch.
Since then I've been deeply sceptical about anything relating to real-life transactions with cherubim and seraphim.
However, when I came downstairs the next morning, to find the kitchen spic and span (well, above its usual standard, anyway), all dishes, pots, pans, leftovers scrubbed and stored, counters wiped down, bouquet restored to the table center--well, the idea of angelic presence seems pretty compelling.
Thanks, kids--you're too good.