The Preface … to Something

My house is dark and still. Quiet, if not for the hum of cool air pressing its way through the window screen, filling my room with the breath of life. Outside, the wind bends the world to its whim as the rain taps on rooftop, slides down the gutter, and spills into puddles of rippling rest.

I sit, curled beside the open window, watching the sky turn gray, then grayer. It’s almost electric with anticipation–the sky and I.

My life has become dichotomy personified as of late–an island girl, trying to make home in a desert. A sunshine lover, hungry for rain. A responsible adult, wishing for a wind storm in which to lose her caution. A contented woman, dreaming of other paths.

I am reminded of a night, similar to this, wherein I wrote:

I just deleted three paragraphs of honesty … simply because I’m not ready to be honest. I’m too scared of it right now. Afraid of what it will to do me and where it will put me. But I know I need to write. To get something out of me. And so, I write.

This weekend I’m staying with family friends. Sandra lets me come when I need. She hugs like a mom and listens like a friend. They have a lovely home–quiet and serene with a yard full of Aspens and a trail that leads to the hills. Bill plays the banjo on the porch each night before dinner and I find myself looking forward to it all day.

Friday night I was reading on the porch and stopped to look out over the valley. It was raining lightly and I could tell a storm was coming. I watched the medallion leaves flutter on the Aspen branches, quivering as the wind rushed through them. Maybe they knew a storm was coming too. Maybe they shook with fear. Or maybe they didn’t know at all and were simply dancing, excited for something they didn’t understand.

Their usually white trunks turned seal-slick gray as water streamed from sky to ground. Slippery wet, the rain rolled off their backs sinking deep into the roots. I could feel the wheels of my brain begin to turn. Cranking to draw the parallels. Churning with lessons I ought to learn. But I stopped. I didn’t want to think.

And then I saw it. Right there in front of me. How had I missed it? A perfect little nest. It was empty and I was fascinated. I stood up and leaned over the rail to get closer. Tiny twigs carefully woven, placed, and perched in the crook of a branch. It was lovely. Simply lovely. I wondered how on earth it stayed right there – perfectly balanced without falling. It looked as if nothing at all was supporting it.

The breeze turned cool and I went inside to read. Sandra came to join me. Darkness fell quickly and the wind kicked outside, howling down from the canyon. Rain poured sideways, lightning flashed, and thunder rumbled. As I gazed out the window, I remembered being a little girl huddled under blankets listening to the summer storms shake outside my window. Sandra looked up. “Storms make trees strong,” was all she said, and she turned back to her book. I too returned to the pages in my lap. I still didn’t want to think.

The next morning I woke up wondering and worrying how the nest had fared through the night. I ran upstairs and out to the porch, where there, in the crook of the branch, it sat. Not a twig had blown away. And not only that, but in place of yesterday’s emptiness was a robin. Wide-eyed with amazement, I suppose I leaned too close and startled the tiny bird because she chirped and flew away. And there on top of the twigs and moss sat two little blue eggs, no bigger than a couple of grapes. I offered a silent “thank you” to heaven. I felt as though I had been given a secret view of something special–a quiet peek into an intimate corner of Mother Earth, and I needed to thank the source.

I checked on the eggs all weekend. Not that I could do anything for them. And not that I needed to. They had been created in the midst of a storm and had weathered the wind perfectly fine without me. But I couldn’t help but want to make sure they were okay. It was as if checking on them and finding them safe meant that everything else in the world–my world–was safe too.

I know it all represents something. I’m certain of that. But I still don’t want to think. And I still don’t want to be honest. It’s just too much effort right now and I don’t think I have the stamina to see the corners upon which honesty will shed its light. But I know someday, sooner or later, I will write more. And what I will write will be about a life that quivers when the wind blows through. And about rain that smooths the outer edges as it sinks into the roots. It’ll be about the almost invisible support that cradles and balances the nests I build. About storms that make me stronger, and the quiet, perfect tokens of life found when I look right in front of me. It’ll still be about birds I suppose. But next time it’ll be about me too.

Share This!
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkdin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit


  1. wow. who are YOU?

    some people can write.
    but YOU, my dear, are a writer.

    i'm reading.
    and waiting.

  2. I don't know that I've ever read something so eloquent… seriously.

    The WV, very appropriate: deeper

  3. Remind your future kids to publish your journal someday. My morning has officially been brightened by reading that. Thank you.

  4. Aah, I'm on the edge of my seat! I love your gardens, by the way. And your photography. As for being a girl with two homes, my mom has been away from Illinois since she was 18, but she still talks about the fall leaves and the spring green. She's happy living in the west, but I don't think home ever leaves you . . . especially if it involves the ocean . . .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkdin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Hide Buttons