Monday, May 07, 2007


The morning after the storm, we walked along the creek, hoping for signs of the cleansing rain, marveling at the broken tree limbs, the high water debris along the creek banks, the carpet of leaves torn from their branches and strewn like confetti under our feet. We stopped to examine a dead bird with flies on its belly, most likely fallen from its nest or tossed by the wind against a tree. Only days before, we'd saved a bird ensnared by string and caught in branches of spruce. It limply lay in my cupped hands as I unthreaded the twine, in and out, between bird feathers and a delicate neck. The girls hovered like nervous mothers, gently stroking the head with a fingertip until it sensed the release of string and flew free.

I wondered how many others had been displaced or killed by the strong Derecho winds that toppled their trees and wrenched apart carefully woven homes. The branches, split, cracked, hung in helpless surrender, upside down to the sky. We walked in surreal silence, that morning after the storm, and stopped along the banks of the creek, watching water runnel and pool and rush ahead. Bethany began whimpering: fire ants. I snatched her up and stuck her feet in the cold creek water, my feet now lodged in the mud, feeling the stinging bites between my toes. I tripped over rocks trying to get in the water and set Bethany down, whereupon she lost her footing and sat in the mud. She looked distraught and I had to laugh. "It's an adventure," I said. "I don't want to go home, yet," she said.

Further up the path, our resident cardinal flitted among a broken Live Oak but Bethany's eyes scanned the ground. "A ladybug!" She tried to capture it, with fingertips that had stroked a bird's head, but it scurried behind leaves and we headed for our own home, untouched by winds. Bethany skipped down the path, forgetting the ant bites itching her feet and legs. From the parking lot I heard an argument. A domestic dispute. Angry words, obscene epithets. F words and B words, and Bethany stopped. "Let's go," I commanded, hurrying down the walk, angry at the invasion, angry for the words crowding out our reverie, lost innocence, the fall, strings in trees, Derecho winds.

1 comment:

allison said...

But she'll remember her ant bites like a trophy, the bird you saved, the pleasure of mud.