The rushing, bustling, whistling sound in the back corner of the house draws me to the half-window of the back door. The backyard is soggy. Two streets over, a lone palm tree, at least twenty feet above rooftops and oak and sycamore and elder trees, sways back and forth, five feet east then five feet west. East and west, it sways. Near the top of its long bare trunk, the fronds of its grass skirt are whipped up and down and around in a frenzy dance of wind and rain.
On the white wall of the garage, the scarlet blooms and green leaves of the bougainvillea normally stretch wide and high, but this dim morning they droop, weighted by the pelting rain; fat drops gliding the hills and valleys of each bloom and leaf, dropping staccato onto the ground below.
At the side of the garage, that spurt of growth from a seed dropped there by some bird or carried there in the dung of the possum or the feral cats has grown tall. It seemed like a weed at first; its roots unreachable amid stuff stacked behind the garbage cans, so over the months I whacked away at the sideways shoots until today, what I see out in the storm is a burgundy maple, taller than the garage roof. It sways just like the nurtured and wanted trees in the yard.
Water has washed the paving stone path from the porch to the garage. The birdbath is full, its surface dappled with rain drops. Even the squat, sturdy grapefruit tree, leaves fat and steady, fruit ponderous is swaying. I see no one. No person, cat, dog or bird. They’ve all gone to dry ground somewhere.
It’s not unusual to hear predictions of rain that never materialize for us. It’s not unusual for a breeze to change the sky from clear to muddled clouds, while all remains dry. It’s not unusual for rain in the hills or along the coast to miss us. It’s not unusual for those same storms to mean mudslides and damage in other places. Even so, I’m grateful this little valley that is normally spared wild weather has not been passed by this time. This wind, this pelting rain, they are rare for us. Exquisite.
The earth, the grass, the plants, the flowers, the trees; they drink, they are washed. Dry turns to plump and nourished. Yellowed winter grass drinks deeply, its tint turning even as I watch.
The wind and the rain and the wild storm remind me of a truth. Each season returns in its appointed time. The maker of the wind and the rain began it all and so it continues. I take comfort and rest. I smile at the wind and the rain and the wild storm.
I fill my lungs with washed air. I drink in the power of the storm. I open the dry spots of wariness at Mother’s health and find them moistened and soothed. I feel the deep well of an unknown future start to fill. I hear the dry crackle stress of hard choices ease into possibility’s supple cloth. I open my hands and hard tensions untangle. I watch the hope of a creative spark take nourishment. I feel the expansion of my spirit. I embrace the bubbles of joy. I stretch with energy and settle into hope. I turn from the window and continue on, cocooned by the rushing, bustling, whistling of the storm.