Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sheltering Shade

Alone with myself, the trees bend to caress me. The shade hugs my heart. ~Candy Polgar

“Let’s go ride our bikes!” I piped up from the kitchen. As Friday afternoon slipped into oblivion, I craved an outdoor adventure. The summer temperature slowly crept towards 100 degrees, but I didn’t care. We’d been cooped up inside for several days, and I needed some sunshine.
We loaded our bikes in the back of Chris’s Toyota pick-up, and I recalled the Mustang days when this would not have been possible. Months ago, my husband expressed a desire to sell his cherished sports car for afternoons such as this, and today we would make his dream come true. Chandler’s allergy sniffles echoed from the backseat, and I felt a twinge of guilt for dragging her along for the ride. I reasoned sunshine and fresh air would be just the medicine she needed.
As we approached the north Texas bike trails, I began to realize the magnitude of the heat. It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and the ball of fire in the sky relentlessly mocked us. Nevertheless, we straddled our biked and headed towards the path. After riding less than fifty yards, the trees above our heads stretched out towards one another creating a welcoming canopy of shade. 
With the wind at our backs, and our I-pod headphones pressed firmly into our ears, we flew down the path on our bicycles. The tree cover protected us from the blistering heat of the sun, and I paused long enough to reflect on the glorious, shielding shade.
You see, too much exposure hurts. Too much light stings. Excessive heat burns. However, shade evokes moderation. It offers reprieve from the elements. When the shadows dance above your head, you are sheltered from extremes. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of thinker, and shade reminds me you can have both exposure and protection in the same exquisite moment.

During my single years my students referred to me as Miss Franks. After tying to the knot with Chris, I became Mrs. Shade. After today’s memorable bike ride, I’ve developed a new appreciation for my last name. Shade protects us from the heat, and in so many ways, my husband's love shelters my fragile heart.

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