September 25th- 27th 2019
Sean and I were outside the Family Visiting unit, it was late afternoon and we had just finished playing in the water. Our clothes were damp but they were quickly drying in the summer heat, almost 100 degrees. Done with our splashing, we sat on the picnic table top with drink-mix popsicles, drips sneaking down our skin like neon red streamers. We are happy, we are carefree. There is nothing but this right now. We want to freeze this moment and hold onto it for as long as we can. Keep it for later, for the weeks that span each family visit.
Earlier we had seen a small lizard sunning itself on the baking hot cement pathway along the unit. We had attempted to sneak up in hopes of catching him, twice. But both times he was simply to fast and smart. It was funny to be thwarted by a tiny lizard but it was neat to see us both in action trying to devise a plan to capture him so we could observe him. Sean lights up when he sees a creature, he just wants to admire them all.
We began to play catch with a small foam ball, tossing it back and forth in the grass. Once we had realized that the grass was surprisingly soft and clean for the first time in many, we abandoned our shower shoes and allowed our bare feet the pleasure of running free, as in faded memories of nature. It energized us, the sensation of freedom. Our laughter and smiles, the sun sinking lower, painting the sky with barely there pink clouds and orange hues. The breeze was gentle, only adding to the feeling of being somewhere else, a place welcoming us to play.
We confidently practiced throwing and catching. Back and forth the ball sailed, sometimes requiring a lunge or a leap in order to be caught. We celebrated excellent catches with victory gestures and cheering, enjoying the challenge of our game. I practiced my football throws and then asked him to show me how to tackle. His youth was spent on wrestling teams for many years and then football for a short time until an injury. We practiced tackles and I went for him, attempting to take him down into the grass, it really made him laugh.
Suddenly a beautiful night hawk flew majestically over our heads, Sean pointed it out and knew what it was right away. It flew by again and we got a good look at it. We had never seen a nighthawk at the prison before, it’s always just black crows and dull city birds. We were surprised, it was a neat sighting.
After dinner Sean washed our dishes in the bathtub since the kitchen sink was broken. He sat on the ledge with his legs straddling the side of the tub and handed me each clean item to put into the dish rack. I asked him if he minded doing it this way. “Nope,” he said “It’s like washing dishes in the creek!” He always sees the bright side of things, he’s always optimistic, never letting anything get to him. And I love that about him.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home” -Anonymous