At 1:30 a.m. the chimes in the flowering cherry were clanging and the swaying branches from the Australian tea bush tripped the motion sensor on the garage floodlight. I slid out from under my layers of blankets and pulled up one cell shade. The yard was back lit from the moon and partly clouds. Close up, in the window sash a black widow was out, hanging upside down waiting for prey. I peered up at her and tapped the window a couple times, but she didn’t move. The whole night scene was waiting, for something.
I watched the Italian Cypress by the Redwood first. Not tipping side to side. But the cherry and the bushes in the yard were stirring. The wind chime clanged regularly, so I sighed. “Have to go out and let down the patio umbrella.” It was eerie warm and cool and still and stirring at the same time. “Not raining yet,” I muttered to myself, “but I smell rain.” I let the shade down.
At 2:30 a.m. I awoke again to the same restlessness in the yard and my mind. I sat up awhile, folding my legs and straightening my spine to meditate. “What am I doing up at this hour?” I wondered. I usually sleep solid through the night. I slid down under the covers and drifted back into sleep.
When I awoke at 3:30 I began to feel scratchy-eyed. I lay thinking, turning, and gauging how I would feel in the busy second grade class where I volunteer. “I’ll be sleepy and grouchy and it will be craaazzzy time because it’s the day before vacation.” Musing did not help. When the alarm went off, I practically slammed the snooze button. Cycling through that a couple times, I forfeited my yoga time and finally got up. Dragging.
Still no rain. Still feeling off center. I made tea and began to wonder if I was coming down with something. Contagious. Thoughts about how maybe I should text my teacher friend and say I wasn’t going to make it.
I brought Mom her pills and coffee and pushed myself out the door, a bit late. I carried an umbrella for the first time in months, noting the sidewalk grubby with dead leaves and dog poo. I checked in at the office, then walked into Ms. J’s classroom.
Seeing the balloons covered in paste paper she was handing out, I exclaimed, “Paper mache!!” and jumped in, helping her get the first draft balloons out to the students, passing out more newspaper, and offering spray bottle and assistance to kids who added layers of newspaper and glue. Moving from table to table to offer more strips of clean newspaper and advice.
A wave of excitement. I am in my milieu when there are art projects going. I smiled and chattered with gratitude, navigating the mess and the excitement and the evolving balloon shapes. Ms. J. had cool Christmas music on and some of us danced at the sink. I consulted on finishing details stood on chairs to hang up masterpieces, and cleaned tables with kids. We worked and talked and laughed. The cloud burst in me.
After scrubbing glue-laden plastic bins and cleaning tables, while Ms. J’s students settled in with their book bins for independent reading, I headed for my favorite coffee shop. Parked at a table with Numi tea, I watched the physical rain start shining up the sidewalks. The rain I’ve waited for since last month.