Karen Rivers

Here comes the rain again.

Karen Rivers

Last night, the rain fell so hard against the skylights that I woke up again and again and again.  I had practical concerns:  As an adult on a limited budget, I can't afford to fix whatever it is that causes the crawlspace to flood when it rains.   I contemplated how much rain the crawlspace could withstand before it simply sighed and allowed the water to fill it.  The rain showered down harder and harder and then so hard that the skylight itself looked like the front window of the car when I enter the carwash.  It's been a long time since I cleaned my car.  These two co-occurring thoughts unlocked the floodgates and the entire reservoir of my worries (how long will the car last? when will I clean out the crawlspace? should I somehow get something fixed?  when was the last time I cleaned the bathroom?) flooded the room, sweeping away two children, who were camping out due to nightmares, and two dogs, who can't sleep unless they are literally on top of me.  

Fortunately, we all survived.  (We know how to swim.)

We keep surviving.

Which is amazing considering how all of us, in turn, wake up at night and realize that everything is impossible, leaving us tired and upset enough in the morning to shout things like, "I can't and won't go to school today or ever again, you dummy!"

This morning, after taking the recalcitrant youths to school, I went for a muddy walk through the forest, remembering how an ancient maple tree once toppled over right next to where I was walking due to a rainfall which had drenched the ground.   There were worms lying everywhere, gleefully, all over the muddy ruts and grooves made by the water pouring down the mountain in the rains (and, subsequently, into my crawlspace).   I couldn't imagine where the birds were.  Why were they not feasting?  The worms stretched out languorously in the mud.    As it's impossible to tell if a worm is awake or asleep due to their lack of eyes, I assumed they were asleep, blissfully resting on the rivulets of streaming rain, dreaming of only what they already have: Wet earth, the good luck to avoid being stepped on by people and dogs, a nice place to stretch out and rest.  

No trees fell on me or even near me today, although I did see one that had crashed across the path.  It was a fir and it looked freshly broken.  I tried to count the rings but it had the bad instinct to break very crookedly and roughly in a way that made it impossible to count.  I will say that it looked like a young tree.  There was no explanation for why it broke, mid-trunk, and fell to the ground except that maybe it was just depressed about the rain.  I should have known or helped but my list of things-I-am-responsible-for is already too long.   It would be better if trees could leave a note, in this scenario, something that says, "It wasn't your fault."  I felt badly about the tree, but something about the worms made me feel hopeful and happy.   The hopeful happiness made me feel excited about everything.  And by everything, I mean, "the books I am working on and submitting and revising."  A lot of my everythings are books.  

When I got home, I could see more and more daffodils pushing their way through the soil -- I could swear even more than when I'd left the house -- and I came inside and had some hot chocolate and did some work and wrote this down.  I feel glad that I wrote it down.  It's easy to think, "Oh, I'll write about the worms when I get home" and then not do it, choosing instead to click around on Facebook for ideas about where to put the litterbox to minimize the smell in your home before remembering you don't own a cat.   I'm glad I wrote about the rain and the sleeplessness and the worms and the daffodils because the thing with life is that it goes by so alarmingly quickly.  Ask anyone.  No one ever says, "Actually, it seems to be taking forever to get to the end."  My daughter keeps saying amazingly insightful things, which I think about blogging and then I don't, and then they're gone.  I forget them.  I hate forgetting them.

Let's not forget the worms and the broken tree.  Let's pay attention to the details.  Let's write them all down.   

Be careful on the trail.  Don't step on the worms.