picking up the pieces
it’s april in the flatlands. and that means twister season. and so it was that yesterday blew across the plains. blew mightily.
for long hours of the day, the sky was charcoal gray, was roiling. every once in a while, the clouds opened wide, let loose a gusher. early in the morning, when i stepped back into the house, after driving my sweet mate to the train amid thundering downpour, i heard what sounded like a shower running.
now, i live with some mighty forgetful folk, but i’ve not lately known them to forget to turn off the shower. so i poked around. more like dashed. followed the sound of splish-splash-splosh till i got to the top of the basement stairs. there i leapt, two stairs at a time, a mighty lope, if i dare say so.
the in-home waterfall — the one i’d not ordered — it was gurgily demonstrating its hydro powers. water fell, all right. poured from the ceiling down the wall, and rolled threateningly toward the electrical outlets where i’d yet to pull the plugs.
i marveled. or maybe it was more like gawked. (you’ve had, perhaps, those elongated seconds where your brain cells and synapses are trying to connect, are trying to understand just why it is the bead-board wall is making like a shower head.) before too many seconds ticked away, i grabbed a stash of towels, a bucket, a mop. heck, i might have grabbed a fly swatter had there been one in sight. (i’m not sure why; i was grabbing anything on a stick, anything long enough to reach and plug the hole. as if i could keep the avalanche from coming.)
in time, the gushing slowed. became laconic drip. but all day i kept vigil, kept my ear tuned for the susurrations of a leaking basement.
by then, the skies darkened, and the weatherman interrupted the broadcast to flash rainbow-colored radar maps onto the TV screen. awful tornadoes tore western and northern illinois to bits. a 50-mile swath, one half-a-mile wide, set new records for hell on earth. gashed the state, and everything in its path, from rockford clear north and east into wisconsin.
out my own windows, the winds picked up. the glass panes rattled. and then the howls and whistles started in, the sound of hurling air in swift pursuit of havoc.
i must have been asleep by the time the worst of it whirled through. i heard nothing but the cat’s meow at 3 a.m. i let him out but i couldn’t see through the dark of night. couldn’t see the fence blown over. couldn’t see the bird house poles that had been plucked up and torpedoed, steep-roofed projectiles, flying arrows through the night.
but once the morning came, once i stepped outside, it was clear, was evident. the yard was not what it had been. something fierce had shattered things.
and, come morning, there was only the picking up of pieces to be done.
it’s uncanny sometimes, the way the outer world aligns with what’s inside. deep down inside. it’s uncanny how, on this becalmed morning after, i roam the soggy grass, i search for shards of wood, and splintered bird house parts. i pick up the pieces of my storm-splattered yard, and deep inside i try to re-assemble shards of my heart that, too, have been shattered in these recent hours.
some days, in the aftermath of storm, it’s the rounds we make, the assessing damage, the gathering of brokenness, that serves to make us whole. whether the brokenness is from the weather’s wrath, or that of someplace deeper.
did you stay safe last night? what are your healing rituals the morning after something’s torn you to pieces?