Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Storm

We've just experienced a terrible storm - the kind that makes you think you're going to see Dorothy, and it's not even Pride weekend yet.  Up on the third floor, in our condo, the trees have bent nearly sideways, coniferous fronds dancing violently against the siding.  It's black - the sun hasn't gone down yet, but it seems like the night will go on and on, tossed into dark with the swift crack of hail and the sharp call of sirens.

A storm.  A storm that breaks the oppressive heat.  A storm that makes me think that the world is about to be reborn, pale, naked, and twilight purple.

After the rain comes a bright, strident note - birdsong.  It's like dawn.  I asked George where the birds hid when it rained and we thought that some might fly into it and some might cling to the inner branches of the big pine trees.

The world is changed.  More sirens, more noise, and a shocking quiet like the night about to breathe.

I think that this place, Columbia, must be like that.  Some things need to be broken down into their most fundamental parts - branches and leaves and birdsong - in order to be stitched together into a whole.  I've met people who've lived here their whole lives, and they tell me that change is good - unless there's too much traffic, or not enough parking, or too much development.  I've also met people who are eager for something to break, some great dam bursting forth with promise and wildness.

Plans are made.  Trees are cut down.  Buildings go up.  And I'm looking toward the future, afraid of the storm, and looking into it - looking to something that I can't possibly know, can't imagine.

I can see why that might be scary, especially to those who have known this Columbia for so long, and who see the storm of change as something purely destructive.  And yes, it can be scary - after all, when I'm driving from my condo to my mother's house, I mourn the trees on Oakland Mills that have given way to what I can hardly believe will be "park land."

But I need that storm of change; I, who miss living in the city, who love this school system, who need open air, who need dancing and late nights and art galleries and yes, even that, even the occasional traffic jam.

It's so dark now that the doors to our porch are like golden mirrors in the lamp light.  I don't know what tomorrow's going to look like - if it's going to be hot and hellish like today, with sweaty teachers and children and parents, or if it's going to be cool-blissful as I think June should be.

Either way, I can't be afraid of the change.  I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and be in a world I know not, and I need to be ready.    

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