We were driving home from town after a full day of lessons and appointments and work.
There were a few meetings, a long to-do list, and back home the cows had both broken through the fence and led Pete on an exhausting adventure to bring them back to the farm.
What a day.
With some extra projects that I have chosen to pick up and the day-to-day fullness that is summer, life feels extra busy these past few weeks. Each day we charge into the evening with the laundry piled high, the floors a mosaic of dirt, and no meal plan in mind.
Yesterday was one such day. We had inched closer to caught up and then the cows escaped and hours of chasing negated any catching up we had hoped to accomplish.
As we neared dinnertime Pete and Sage headed in one direction for LARP practice a few counties away, and Lupine and I headed home when her class was done.
It was unreasonably hot out and we were hungry.
"Can I lead you home a way you've never gone before?" Lupine asked.
I looked at my watch. I paused. Laundry, dishes, dinner… sure, I thought. Why not? I'd never get it all done tonight, anyway.
She had me turn down a gravel road I had never given a second thought to, and then onto another and another. I was officially lost. "Do you know where we're going?" I asked.
She just smiled.
Charlie stuck his head out the window, ears and cheeks flapping, a sparkle in his eye, too. Maybe he knew were we were going, as well. He was feeling better – for the moment anyway – and I thought the detour might be good for us all.
A few twists and turns later, down a road I had never seen before, she directed me down a hidden gravel driveway that wound away from the road and snaked between the trees. "Public Fishing Access" a sign read. It was a secret swimming hole she and her papa had discovered a week or two before.
And it was delightful.
Lupine (and Charlie) convinced me that a quick dip was in everyone's best interest, and I marveled at the strength and spirit that they each possess.
They swam, we laughed, and everyone felt refreshed after an oppressively hot summer day.
In short, we exhaled.
It was a quick detour, because, well – laundry, dishes, and dinner. But we were cooled and refreshed by it just the same. On the walk back to the car we harvested some milkweed flowers for a syrup recipe we stumbled upon in the last Taproot issue, then headed home for a dinner that possibly involved frozen, store-bought dumplings I had hidden in the deep freeze for a special treat. (Also big salads, because, balance. And, well, it's July.)
We ate, we chatted, and we worked our way through the mountain of dishes left from their morning of mishaps and the 4th of July celebration the night before.
And then, despite the detours along the way, it time for bed. Sure, there were more direct and productive routes that would have brought us here, to bedtime, but it wouldn't have been as nice of a day for anyone.
These detours along the way. They lead us to unexpected slivers of joy, of beauty, and of a pause from the fullness of our days.
And thank goodness for that.