the 80-year old trees that ring our house are thrashing in the wind,
and a gold-grey stormlight is glowing on the last few tired, tenacious leaves
high school students walk down the street in their backpacks,
hooded sweatshirts cinched around their faces

I dash out into the wind and uproot a handful of leeks
the babe on my hip babbles into the gusts and gasps when it blows in his face
Going back in, I stop to
stare at the glow in the spaces between the trees

There’s something eerie about stormlight, something prescient and uncanny
Maybe I learned it from the Wizard of Oz,
or my mother’s stories of witnessing tornadoes,
while visiting her grandparents in the Midwest as a kid.

Lack of northwest tornadoes notwithstanding,
I’m conditioned to respond when the sky takes on these colors.

Get ready,
they say
its going to get worse before it gets better.

The wind strengthens as the night passes.
We eat potato leek soup and biscuits, and startle as the power flickers.
I leave the house to run an errand at eight,
and on my two-mile drive home,
I pass eight different aging campers, all parked streetside and providing homes.
My headlights catch a man’s face, sitting in his camper in the dark,
as the wind whips wet leaves off the curbs
and plasters them against his thin-walled home.

We loose the power at our house few hours later,
and we light candles and take stock of what we have to loose in the fridge.
Put the babe to bed by flickering candlight, and enjoy the cosiness,
as the wind howls against our house like a coastal storm.
We may not have much, but we’ve got walls around us,
and money to pay the power bill,
and so we enjoy storms for their novelty.

I am aware that winter storms are not novelties for those living in campers,
who were most likely once people with mortgages, or apartments at least.

they say the recession is over,
but none of my unemployed friends are finding work.

i think the campers are their own kind of stormlight.

take a breath, they seem to say,
its going to get worse before it gets better.



Filed under autumn weather, layoffs, recession, winter

3 responses to “stormlight

  1. Wow, you have leeks in your garden. I like your simple life-style. Power outage and candle-light remind me of back home (Pakistan), minus the snow storms, of course. It was fun, and rather exciting.

    I hope everything works out ok.

    I thought the campers were there by choice, but I guess not. It must be difficult in snow.

  2. worse before it gets better.

    this is running through my mind often these days. reading this made it seem more real, but also less frightening. i know that none of this is personal. the economy & my house & whatever shit the ex was/is dealing with. somewhere, i’ll learn to let go and let the storm run its course. learn to ride the thunder and run the rapids. and snuggle my way through with one very happy and loving OWL.


  3. Theresa

    Here’s to recognizing, and appreciating, what we have…. and even more importantly, what others don’t. Your piece says it all.

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