The sky outside my window is gray, but the sun is stubbornly trying to break through. From the blue stripes, it looks like the sun will win.
The sun needs to lose. At least for a few days. Because what we need right now isn’t more sun. We need rain. We desperately need a week of gentle but steady rain because my corner of the world is on fire.
Here in the northwest, fire is not an uncommon thing. Fire season technically starts in September, but this year September came early and all those beautiful trees are very, very dry. And so are the grasses and sage brush and all the other growing things that makes the northwest such a very beautiful and cherished place in this world.
And so very much of it is on fire right now.
So I’m praying for rain. Lots and lots of gentle, steady rain that can slowly make its way into the earth and not only quench the flames, but help make things right.
I’m praying that Mother Nature can make things right. Because it seems like no one else can. The voices of the people who are supposed to fix things, supposed to be in charge, supposed to keep us safe…well, they are largely quiet. They say there aren’t enough resources, there isn’t any rain. They say things that make it seem like a foregone conclusion that this summer of fire and destruction will run its course, regardless of what we do. They say things that make it seem like this is just what is supposed to happen. That might not be what they actually are saying, but that’s how it feels at least.
That we have boarded a train there’s no getting off, to give a nod to Plath.
And today, looking out my window at the dead grasses waving in the wind, I want to shout into the wind “STOP! LET ME CATCH MY BREATH! JUST GIVE ME ANOTHER MOMENT!” But, of course, that won’t do a thing but make me a middle-aged woman shouting out my window into the wind.
But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to shout.
Because like the beautiful northwest I call home, I’m also just waiting and praying for a rain that I know won’t come, can’t come. It’s a different fire I’m facing and while it won’t leave destruction in its wake, it will change everything. This fire of sorts will pass and leave an emptiness that over time will grow new grasses but will not stop me from missing the trees that once stood in the fields of my heart.
Biggest will be a sophomore next week.
The sophomore year is an interesting one. It is the teen year that, as far as I can tell, most demonstrates what vexes teens and their parents most. With one foot standing in both hoods of child and adult, sophomores have the stance of a runner transferring weight from one foot to the other, getting ready to take off. It is inevitable. It is what is expected. And if the truth be told, it is a gift to have my first born be at this place in life.
But I am still praying for rain, even if I don’t really mean it.
I don’t want to not have this young man stand here, poised to take flight into the rest of his life, as surely as driver’s education is about to come into our lives. But, oh my god, do I miss his younger self.
That younger version of Biggest is gone, gone as surely as the old forests on the sides of the Cascades. That younger self exists only in one place now…in my heart’s memories. I know this makes no sense. But that is my mother’s heart speaking…trying to find the words to explain the sword’s slice as I love meeting this new young man while mourning the “loss” of my first baby. Because it is coming, as surely as the fire licking its way across the forest and the rain that will eventually fall.
I guess I pray for two types of rain: one for the land and one for my heart. The rain needs to come and help the fire jumpers put these fires out.
And I need a gentle rain to soften the pain in my heart so I can embrace more fully the opportunity to know this version of Biggest.
Oh Great One, please hear me.
The circle of time turns; the child turns into a man.
Help my heart see the glory of this turning
More than it feels the pang of missing the small
Hand in my own. Once that hand grabbed at mine
More than I reached for it. Now I reach for a hand
That has grown large and more able than my own.
Today the roles have changed. I need to find peace in the
Gift of that. May I find peace and joy in today.
And may yesterday’s memories
Bring a deep peace like a gentle rainstorm.