A Summer Moment

We take the kids to Vacation Bible School where a hundred eager voices clamor to be heard. The cacophony of talking makes a melody of its own: screeches blend with shouts, harmonizing with children’s laughter. As the music starts, the discussion descends into a murmur. Kids raise their voices, off key, to sing words they have just learned. Some also try to match the movements of the leaders up on the stage. Most are just a second behind, creating an echo behind the song. Giving their full attention to the worship leader, bodies softly bump into each other here and there, creating a subtle rustling of feet as children give each other a slightly wider berth. My husband and I leave the auditorium’s bright lights and loud music to enter the outdoors, where we are met by the ebb and flow of the cicadas’ screeching vibrations. We sweat and walk, listening to the quiet that presses in upon us, interrupted by a distant lawnmower, the intermittent sound of a basketball, smacking pavement, our footsteps creating a synchronous rhythm on sidewalk. We smell the Pennsylvania summer: humidity, freshly cut grass, asphalt. We sometimes hold hands, until they become too slippery to stay connected. We periodically talk in hushed voices. Our legs radiate warmth from within. Then, it is time to return. A rush of air conditioning greets us upon our reentry. The auditorium, previously reverberating with music, singing, and kids’ voices, is silent – empty. We wait for each group of students to return, offering a smile and slight wave to each of our children, as they emerge from their classrooms, one at a time.

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