“After the Rain Has Fallen”

A couple hours ago, thunderstorms rolled over my neighborhood; torrential rain and violent wind clashed and the worst casualty is my trashcan that is still sadly laying on its side.  I should pick it up.  But I have spent the last forty minutes typing up words and then deleting them and then typing up more words and deleting those.  If you are reading this, you should be very grateful that I have a loving relationship with my backspace-button.  Otherwise, you would be reading a lot of crap right now.

Night is falling; in the few minutes it took for me to grab my computer, sit on the porch swing, and type the preceding sentences, the few remaining thunder-head-clouds that look like gargantuan atmospheric fortresses have shifted from white to an incandescent rose and now to a quiet blue that reflects the darkening sky.

All is peaceful.  Both Loki and Ugly-Cat are with me on the porch, each vying for attention or a quiet place to groom or settle.  I don’t know.  All I know is that my wandering instinct that has been plaguing me for the last week is finally calming.

At this moment, I feel most like I am back home in Germany.  The lullaby-buzzing of the crickets that sits as a humming bass note beneath the symphony of bird song, at this moment, I am not hearing the clashing sounds of car engines overlaid with the rhythms of suburbia life.  If I close my eyes, I can almost see the mountains that stand as a backdrop against my parents’ garden.  The alps are so huge and so pristine in their beauty, they look almost like a Hollywood-creation, too perfect, too wonderful.

I went hiking with the Girl this week at Shenandoah.  This time, we went down Doyle’s Falls and came back up through the Jones Run path which took us by yet another set of waterfalls.  Once we had come back out on the mountain ridge lines, we had to walk another 3+ miles on the Appalachian Trail.  Briefly, I found moments when I was no longer in Virginia or was a 43 year-old mother.  Several times, if I just let go of my fingerprints and my experiences enough, I was able to feel ten again.  I was back on the path that led to Badersee and could see the little ecke, this little corner of the forest that perfectly blended with reality and my imagination and I could see a unicorn stepping out from behind the trees.  It was so real.  It was so….perfect.

I do not hate being a mother.  I don’t hate being 43.  I think this blog is evidence of that.  But I miss so much of Germany so often.  People ask me why I don’t move back.  Because my husband doesn’t want to move there.  He loves to tinker on cars and on various engineering projects.  And the Germans are not very keen on people tinkering on their cars at 2 in the morning thanks to the hideousness of insomnia.

My kids would hate me for writing this, but I really do want to move.  I want to flee back to the mountains and live in a setting where pine trees are my neighbors, not grocery stores.  I want to watch the changing of the seasons and not feel like I am being held hostage by the oppressive humidity that hangs over the city in which I live like a moist strip of wool.

A frog is croaking while a bird trills a three noted warbling lovesong.  Across the way, the cloud has stretched out its head and its under-belly sparkles with lightning.

At times, I will sit outside and watch the storms roll in, relish the powerful vivacity of the wind as it serves as a herald to the approaching storm.

When I used to work at Lake Accotink a million years ago, the late-spring storms would come across the lake. surging with a ferocity of life that was exhilarating and frightening at the same time.  The snack bar was connected to the boat-house by a little roofed-walkway.  When the storms approached, this ten foot area became the perfect wind tunnel.  Once, as a storm was steadily coming across the lake (the good storms always started from the opposite side of the lake.  It was like watching an invading army), one of my co-workers was outside with me, watching the storm.

He was tall enough to be able to reach up and touch the roof of the walkway, and when the wind gusted (really pitiful word to describe an event that has stuck with me for nearly 30 years), the young man gripped the gutter and braced himself against the violence of the wind.  His entire body curved, like a parentheses, and the wind peeled around his narrow torso and waist before curling behind him, rejoining, and hitting me.

I will never forget the beauty of that curve of that young man’s spine, of the symmetry of his arms as he grasped the roof and stood as an obstacle to the wind….Or was a part of the swirling currents of the wind as it hit his body and pulled at him to tear him away.  I was such a gawky, awkward, miserably-pudgy girl (didn’t even feel like a young woman but I was only a year younger than this young man), but I knew beauty when I saw it.

And I trembled with the strength of the memory.

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