The sound of heavy rain became my alarm clock at 5:30am. I thought, this isn't good. I rolled off the couch where I had fallen asleep watching The Ya-Ya Sister-something. The canines were chomping at the bit - eager to greet the pitch dark WET backyard. GET BUSY! Breakfasts made. Time for another and longer outing for Harley, and now, luckily, the skies have cleared. We set out and about two miles later, the skies open and blast us with a torrential downpour. I am walking in a tee shirt, flannel PJ bottoms, sneakers, period. I have never been so wet in my life.
Back home, into the shower, but I first slip on the wet tiles where Harley has flopped down. What IS it about my dog that he insists upon accompanying me in the bathroom when I shower? Ouch. Oucher, when I reach for my favorite Shreve, Crump and Lowe earrings to find one missing. Oh dear Jesus, I will never be able to replace them. This morning grows more treacherous by the moment. I am going to be late for work because I didn't stop for gasoline, even though the gauge screamed EMPTY the night before. I call my friend Marty, who is the senior gardener at Vassar, and ask for a favor; if I park by the greenhouses, will he give me a ride to my building? (Other blatant and superlative bribes are included). The slow path, if you please, the one that winds along Sunset Lake. And yes, there is the blue heron, wading in the water, catching his breakfast. I remember to breathe.
Later, upon returning to the parking lot, I narrowly miss being run over by an enormous SUV with blackened windows ('tint' doesn't apply here). Terrifying. Six inches and slower reflexes and I would be toast. Home. Finally. My cell phone rings, it is Scott calling from the hospital in North Carolina where his father has been rushed. The news is really truly horrific. I look up and here is what I see -
And as the sky and the forecast and the pain in my chest narrows - I once again remember to breathe. We are doing the best that we know how to do in this new territory - this uncharted place of aging and illness where maps are of no use and hearts are broken daily.