Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: Seasonal Surprises
By Loren T. Lowery
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“Are you going to be okay, Dad?” his son, Wade asked.
“I’ll be fine. You go on down with the others. I want to spend a little more time with your mother.”
“You proposed to her up here, didn’t you?”
Scoot smiled wistfully, gently caressing a book he was carrying. “Forty years ago, on a day like today. The valley was filled with butterflies.”
“She loved butterflies.”
“She did. It’s one reason I proposed to her up here.”
“You sure you’re going to be okay?”
“I’ll be fine. I’ll follow the path down to the house and be along in an hour or so.”
Placing a hand on his father's shoulder, Wade left. Scoot watched him drive away and then made his way to the spot he had pledged his eternal love to his wife; and where, a year later, he had given her the book he now held tightly to his chest.
Amid knee-high wildflowers, he found an area as familiar to him as the touch of his wife’s hand and sat down.
Over this landscape, he heard a voice, faint, melodic.
'Red and yellow and pink and green.'
A gust of dry wind pulled the sound away, blending it with the whisk of air racing through the branches of a near by oak
Scoot cocked his head. “Amanda?”
'Purple and orange, and blue.'
He strained to hear, but there was no answer. He settled back, squinting out across the valley deep with the graceful movement of butterflies.
'I can sing a rainbow...' the voice teased.
Shadows cast by the flowers danced on the canvass of the hill. Running his fingers over the glossy cover of the book, he opened it, remembering:
“Oh, Scoot, you shouldn’t have.” Amanda opened the book, reading the inscription:
“To Amanda on our first wedding anniversary - You call them winged rainbows, these butterflies. May this book always serve to remind you of the joy their colors bring you. Eternally yours, Scoot. ”
Amanda closed the cover, tears misting her eyes. “Oh, Scoot, I love you so.” She took his hand. “They are you know.”
“Winged rainbows - seasonal surprises”
“I envy you, the way you find happiness in the simplest of things.”
She glanced over the valley. “God surprises us with gifts everyday. All we need do is look.” Resting on a blanket and she came to her knees. “Think about the first autumn leaf and how its color can lift your heart. Or the first snowfall and how it can bring such peace to the soul.”
“My sweet bard of the valley, shall we ever lack for surprises?”
“I believe we’re all poets inside. Seeing and describing the world with the words God puts in our hearts.” Placing hands to hips, she said, “And so are you. Do you have a pen?”
He pulled a pen from his vest and she took it, opening the book. “From this day forward, we will write down how God surprises us and fifty years from now we’ll read it to see how richly blessed our lives have been.”
“I…I don’t know, Amanda. I can’t think of anything.”
“But you must.” She paused to write 'Seasonal Surprises' beneath his inscription. “Surely, you can think of something of how God surprises you.”
“Well, maybe how I'm startled by the stars when the clouds part on stormy nights.”
“Perfect. That will be our first entry.” She handed him the book and he began to write. When he finished, he handed it back to her.
When she read his entry, she gasped, fresh tears of surprise filled her eyes.
A butterfly landed on the book, bringing him from his revere. They hadn’t had fifty years, only forty, but the entries overflowed, so much in fact, that loose-leaf pages had been added.
He mulled over them, tracing his fingers over the neat floral script of Amanda’s hand. Pulling a pen from his vest, he placed three dashes beside his very first entry and wrote:
'Amanda’s love for me --- and now forty years later, our abiding love and this book and the joy it has restored in me.'
He closed the cover and walked down the path to his home. A lone butterfly trailed above him, and his heart hummed to the flutter of its wings…
“‘(We) can sing a rainbow through.’”
“I Can Sing A Rainbow” words and lyrics by Arthur Hamilton
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