Today is the fifteenth day of Lent.

This year my Lenten journey is to be mindful of my life every day. It’s hard to explain what that means, but I know the meaning of it.

This weekend Jeanene and I are taking the three sisters on a journey back in time. We go backwards in time in a couple of ways. First, this may be the last time the five of us go on a trip or adventure together. Reiley is now 25 and seriously dating a man we have come to love. I fully anticipate that he will be a part of everything we do from this point forward. When your children start moving into the adult world, their lives become their own. We stand on the edge of that transition. I feel I should honor this weekend as a closing chapter in our lives.

Second, we’re travelling farther back in time as we are going to Livingston, Texas where my parents grew up and met. We are going to see my grandparents’ house, the one my grandfather purchased from the Humble Oil company and moved from the Humble Oil Camp to his own property. The house is not occupied and has trees and vegetation growing up all around it. The floors are falling in. Nature wants badly to reclaim this land and is just about to do so. Indeed the vegetation is so thick that the only way in is through a path cut to the back door.

This house was a joyous place for me as a boy. I adored my grandparents and cousins. We had to travel the full width of Texas every year to visit. I want my wife and daughters to see the house and the land while there is still some sign of a time long gone. My aunt and uncle and cousins will be there with us.

My grandfather’s free-standing metal garage is still there, with a workshop room that I understand hasn’t been opened since he died in 1986. The vegetation has grown up around it as well. My uncle has cleared a path to the workshop door. We’ll let the three sisters do a little exploring.

This trip has powerful images, yes? A family mindful of the changes that mean our family of five may never be the same again. A trip back into deep, East Texas, with the humidity, the history, and the red soil. The old household where my mother was a child, falling down, nature having grown up and all but choked it.

Nature is always reclaiming the world. Nothing stays the same.

Of these things I am mindful tonight.


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