The Tibetan prayer flags on my porch move with the wind. They entwine themselves around the ribbon on which they fly. I stand at the doorway and watch the birds rise into the broad expanse of sky thinking, and there will come soft rains.
But the rainy season has come and gone here in the California Delta. Now we have fierce winds, warm afternoons, and cold clear nights. My friends in Kansas City speak of hot days and poolside afternoons while I wear long sleeves and pull my windows tight as the sun sets. I know the heat will arrive soon but for now, I feel that I’m a stranger to the warmth back home. I’m caught between seasons, waiting for the earth to turn.
A few setbacks pull me into a blue funk now and then. These days I try to measure my reactions in the grand scheme of things. A broken trinket means little when the news blasts so grim onto my computer screen. Lost immigrant children; racism running rampant; people stumbling and succumbing to an onslaught of war, crime, and ignorance. . . Any one of these looms larger than even the worst of my troubles. I bow my head; I take the point.
Outside my tiny house, the wind whips the willow trees and rushes past, through the meadow and back to the levee road. I clench my hands; a shudder courses through my shoulders. I hear my mother’s voice asking did a ghost walk over your grave? Maybe so; maybe so. I strain to hear the last call of the mourning dove but she has fallen silent in her nest high above my roof.
It’s the thirtieth day of the fifty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.