I could feel the week sliding off my back as Paul Simon sang of foreign places to us with drums all around. My hands relaxed on the wheel, and I listened when girls squealed about a field of snow. “Oh that’s cotton, baby,” I said. The fields were spread wide, and most were emptied already. Maile asked if it felt soft as we passed big cotton bales wrapped in yellow. I nodded mumbling about their Papa picking cotton by hand and how it’s not soft to pick by hand. I’m mulling the week over in my head still and wondering if the project I just turned in is any good.
“Can we stop Mom? Please? I want to hold just a piece of that cotton,” she asked her eyes pleading. I felt my foot moving to the brake pedal. How could I miss this? It felt sacred. I pulled over, and she burst out of the car quickly running to the edge of an almost bare field. She was laughing. We are all laughing. We feel mischievous. Anna asks if we are stealing. I just laugh. I don’t think so, I answer.
She gets back in the car with her four carefully picked cotton pieces–one for each sister of course. We all feel it. Maile rubs it on her cheek. It is so soft. “How is this a plant?” she asks smiling. “It just is,” I say dumbly. I’m still feeling it between my thumb and forefinger. I like stealing cotton. And even though my house was the quietest and cleanest its ever been this week, this moment of fluffy loud laughter was my favorite one of all.
Thanks be to God!