Dances with Rain

The Weather Channel had a picture of a cloud and lightning with raindrops in the 7 o’clock slot last night.  We’ve been praying for rain all month and now it’s getting critical.  I read in the newspaper that our small town only has minute’s worth of water in the tower it uses to supply the fire hydrants here.  It’s dry and we’re approaching the fourth of July.  Common sense would indicate avoiding anything with a spark but odds are someone is going to do something stupid.

So, we’ve been praying for rain.  We’ve hung our hopes on that little icon of a thunderstorm.

After a hot sunny day with temperatures at somewhere near 105 degrees, the sky clouded over and then the wind picked up, a lot.  I went outside to check the sky because I’m one of those crazy people who goes outside when a storm is approaching.  I could smell it, ozone in the dry air.  I could feel the humidity rise around me.  The scorching wind was building and dust was puffing up from the dry grass as debris blasted across the yard.  I scrunched up my eyes to protect them then threw out my arms and turned full circle as I was joined by my son and his girlfriend.  “Can you believe it,” I asked.  “It really might rain.”  We were joyous, giddy really.  I grabbed their hands and we ran to the driveway and danced in a circle and then my husband and younger son joined us.  “You’re doing it wrong,” my older son said.  “This is how you do a rain dance!”  He slapped his knees and did a little jig and then slapped his shoulders in a crisscross and kicked out his heels.  We tried to copy his steps and ended up laughing and spinning around in the wind with our arms outstretched, palms open to the sky.  In the suddenly cool wind, I felt a single drop of rain hit my palm and evaporate.   It was there and then it wasn’t.  I prayed for rain and I received a single drop.

The purple sky soon lightened to gray; the wind died and the sunshine returned.  The ground was still as parched as before the storm and we all returned to whatever we were doing before the wind came.  I received a single drop of rain and the memory of a joyous random dance with my family.

http://www.weather.com/

Turning a Page

 

Closing a chapter and turning a page.  It’s always bittersweet.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as my kids have become grown men right before my eyes.  Yesterday, I met some friends to turn the page on a poignant time in my life.  For two summers, we showed up to put on a little Shakespeare in the Park under the leadership of Gary.  He brought us all together.  Outside the fray of the community he and his wife assembled for the task, I met so many great people.  We worked together, ate and drank together, and raised kids together.  And then Gary died, suddenly, and we were left without our leader.

Yesterday, I met his wife and her fiancé along with a few friends to empty the storage container left unchecked since that last summer together.  Right away, Gary’s absence was evident.  The container was locked with a combination lock and as his wife Andrea said, “the combination died with Gary.”  Bolt cutters made quick work of the stumbling block but the look on Andrea’s face stays with me.  How many times a day is she hit with these tiny reminders that he is really gone?

We sorted through crates and made piles. There was a sewing machine, an electric fire log, and a large blue cooler.  We found wooden swords that prompted reminiscing and Macbeth’s severed head brought laughter.  We carried sheet after sheet of painted flats and platforms on wheels and frames for risers to the U-Haul truck. The items Andrea chose to keep were practical and small.  Props and fabric were selected to be donated to high school theater departments and local acting troupes and I offered to dispose of whatever was left.  The decision was made to move it all to our house to be stacked up behind our construction shop.  I now own the remainder of those summers.  Maybe I was just offering my friend a solution.  Maybe I just wasn’t ready to let that stuff go.

Transformations: A response

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My friend Amy gave birth to her fifth child at the age of 41. This baby has brought so much joy.   I find myself thinking of the years of sacrifice it takes to get a newborn off to kindergarten.  I remember the demands of being fully responsible for keeping another human being alive for those years and I feel exhausted just thinking about it.  I love being a mother and would not trade the experience for anything but thinking about doing it again at my age makes me tired.  It won’t happen.  It’s not physically possible since my hysterectomy and that’s ok.

Amy’s friend Molly just had her first child.  She’s young and new to the experience bringing a fresh perspective.  I see myself in a new role as I read their blog Life in Tandem.  I am the soon-to-be empty nester, the crone to their maiden and mother.  I watch as all the children I’ve known since they were babies move into adulthood.  Skinny, squirrely boys sprout muscles and real facial hair.  Awkward, giggling, gangly girls suddenly curve into graceful knowing creatures.  It’s in the conversations too.  In a place where before a parent had to prompt a one word greeting or response, these changelings share their opinions in detailed and even eloquent ways.  They get the jokes.  They share.

I’m looking forward to my new role with these children of mine.  I am anxious to discover what world they are creating and learn how I fit in it.  Day by day I turn loose a little bit more.  Soon I’ll hand over the reins entirely and see where they take me.

To read Life in Tandem visit http://tandeminlife.blogspot.com/