Cloudy days pass, and fortunately come again
I stepped outside this morning, into the still darkness, to read my rain gauge. As I opened the front door and felt the cool air wash over me, the school bus turned onto our road and slowly rolled past our house. I looked at the gauge, a formality as I knew there was no rain yesterday, and thought about the emotions watching the bus pass brought up in me.
We’ve weathered the hard season of school days, my children and I, and even my husband for the last few years of that decades-long season. Getting up and getting everyone dressed, lunches, the sheer chaos of back-to-school that settled into the routines and sharp time delineation of a day during the school year. Even when I was homeschooling in the latter times of school, there were still things that had to be done, lessons taught, assessments of education and identification of places their knowledge needed to be increased and broadened.
I am past that, now, and so are they. I was so very glad, this morning, that I didn’t have that to worry about. But also, I miss the sleepy little ones, the careless affection of a quick hug on their way out, the warmth of a tousled head as I turned them in the right direction. Standing and waving after the bus with the littlest in my arms, soothing his weeping that he couldn’t go with his sisters. Standing and waving after the bus knowing the teen boy was hiding in his hoodie because Mama was being silly. Brackets, bookends, marking the way it started all the way to how it ended.
Seasons turn, although here in Texas it seems that clouds and rain aren’t a marking of the times. We have the cool air. The moisture, not so much. The rain gauge is as much a symbol of my hope as it is anything else. Without rain, the greening of growth and promise won’t come. I’ll welcome the clouds, and hope for rain. It will come. I just have to be patient, the way I was all those long years of school. Until they went away, little seedlings planted with care and watered with tears. Now there’s only one left, and no more bus for him, he can drive himself. Waking up is still a struggle, but it is his, not mine. This lesson he must learn for himself. I cannot always be there.
Rain for the garden. Rain for the lake. Rain for me, that I can know it will all grow stronger. Rain…
Sometimes I miss the green lands of endless water, and the gardens I grew there. This place where the Dry Line slices through my yard, this is a different life for me. It’s become clear that it’s a new season, a new way to measure time. After the rain. During the Dry. The scent of petrichor when it had finally come pouring down, and even in the moments before it falls from the sky, the smell and the feeling of heavy potential. This life is not effortless, creating a riot of green and color and fruits with benign neglect from me. This is where I shall have to work at keeping my good cheer when death creeps closer on sere feet, leaving the crisp grasses in it’s wake, waiting for the fires to burst up and sweep over the ground.
Leaving it scorched and fallow until the rain comes to soothe it from its hurt. Wildflowers burst upwards towards the sun, rampant joyful rainbows borne on supplicant stems. The rain has gone, and we celebrate life in the sunshine’s warmth.
This is life in the shadow of the end. All things come to an end. The bus turns a corner, I walk back into the warm house, the flowers droop and fade. The children become adults and make their own memories that will linger long past my own end. My love will have an ending, in death and sorrow. When I was a mother that ending’s shadow was far, far from me in the noon of life when shadows are shortened to mere slips at the toes of my bare feet on the green grass. When I was busy making lunches and patching banged knees, the shadows lengthened unnoticed. Now, in the quiet life where I look at the rain gauge with hope in the dead garden, the shadows are inescapable.
All things pass from the face of this earth. Rain falls, and seeds germinate. The words written down linger on, for a time, a ghost of a memory on a cloudy day when you can’t go outside to play.
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