This weekend, my husband and I spent a lot of time together, just the two of us, hiking and talking. We visited People's State Forest in Barkhamsted on the Fourth of July, travelling along the Jesse Gerard Trail. We talked about life, about our surroundings, and of course, about our sweet little Peyton. Having nearly reached the top of the mountain, a butterfly, small and white, floated between the two of us, lingering for awhile. I always associate butterflies with Peyton now. We had decorated her steel crib in the hospital with butterflies in a desperate effort to make it feel less cold and clinical; and it has been during some of my lowest moments at Peyton's grave, that these beautiful little creatures have appeared and brought comfort. "Look, it's Peyton." I said to Dru, and we followed as she floated and fluttered before us, up a path and to a beautiful lookout.
The view from atop this rock overlooked the Farmington River, with it's kayakers in brightly colored vessels dancing along the river's bends down below. I wondered how many miles away could be seen from here, and marvelled over the sense of calm that the area below us held from this vantage point. It's amazing how disconnected I have been feeling from that calm these last several months. It was because of the peace in this area that we had decided to settle here, to start our life, to raise a family. My heart welcomed the peace this day. "I can't imagine anything more beautiful than this place?" I said. The view was literally taking my breath away.
I told Dru I felt like Peyton was there with us, that she had offered us this moment, this reprieve to sit among beauty, among each other and be at peace. We thought of her, talked about how we wished she was taking this adventure with us, strapped to our back in a carrier. For a moment, up on that overlook, I imagined how wonderful that would have been. We were not, of course, the first people to discover this lookout, and the remnants of a campfire laid charred in the rock where we stood. I reached into the fire and pulled out a large piece of charcoal, handing it to Dru. "Write her name," I said, "I want a record of her here." We walked the rock finally choosing an area that faced what we thought to be the most beautiful view, and Dru went to work.
As we stood back to admire his handywork, the sun came shining upon us with all of its brightness, allowing us to cast our shadows and love down over her name.
We sat there with her for awhile, breathing her in, before readying ourselves to head back to the trail towards home, looking over our shoulders once more at the name of our lost child on that rock, among so much beauty.
I know in my heart that Peyton had brought us there, to share that place, that moment. I could feel her love and presence all around us. I knew that we had shared this experience, all three of us, as a family.