Yes, we miss our old lives. Or we don’t. We want to shout into the wind, and perhaps need to shout at ourselves. We’re finally immersed in the monotonous details of our every day.
There was a tropical storm this morning. Dark and swirling. Threatening flash floods.
Get away from the windows.
Get off the porch.
The trees are old and tall. Canopies sway and twist, holding against the wind and risking themselves. The upturned leaves of the knotty oak stretch to funnel the rain to its feet.
Our dinky pier is swallowed by the muddy, brackish river. The air hangs still despite the ruckus.
In this new normal, we must lean on ourselves.
We hunker into it. Pillow forts and jigsaw puzzles and so many books. Watercolor paints. Slime recipes. Guacamole and chips for lunch.
The electricity flickers over and over for a few hours. Until it doesn’t. Until the blue sky sighs hello and the birds gather back to their watercooler.
Is it weird that I miss the storm?
I step onto the grass, crisp at attention having shed the old. A tangle of zinnias rebounds after the torrent. The hydrangeas elbow each other for sun yet refuse to bloom this season. A confetti of branches, bark and broken acorns lay martyred atop the heavy verdant floor of moss.
Earthworms scatter the steamy road, each separate and stranded in a draining puddle of their own choosing, in view of bluejays, the warriors of the woods. I aid a chunky earthworm emigrate to the base of the peonies. A toad observes from his hosta overhang. I wonder if the worm imagines me an ogre or a savior.
Purple hearts unravel vines, each juncture filled with a quarter-teaspoon of fresh rain, garnished with a single pink bloom. A hummingbird cocktail. I pull Virginia creeper from the decaying trunk the children have dubbed the fairy garden. A tribe of blue buttons snap up for breath and sun. The hollies install drip gardens at their bases, unwittingly offering a series of watering holes for woodpeckers and squirrels alike.
We are an anonymous community, all following our cravings and offering innate and accidental help. Every soul is renewed and once again able reach for its prize.
*published in Pen in Hand literary magazine, ed. January 2021