It’s been a remarkable year, with most of our friends and family back East snowed in and under by weather: withering heights of snow, entrenched anxiety and disheveled spirits. Daggers of ice dripping from eaves, threatening to drive stakes into Spring. The calendar may have turned over a new season, but Mother Nature isn’t giving up the Big Chill yet.
A similar season of blizzard tried to embalm the earth many years ago. It was a still night, the 7th of February, near 7:00 p.m. My father trudged several miles because his ancient car wouldn’t start.
The wind whistled in his ears, but he whistled his own tune anyway – my father was skilled at that. Musical notes to warm cold hands and feet, carrying him closer to me and my mother.
While the world was quiet outside the weather-sealed doors of the hospital, my mother and I wailed my way into the world, a birth process that obviated the father as participant, forgetting his primacy months ago. My mother and I remained in the hospital 7 days, such was the beat of the times.
Still cringing from the war-to-end-all-wars, my dad wasn’t certain he was ready for this. He had no career, no money, no path – beyond the one to-and-fro the hospital and my maternal grandparents’ house.
I happened anyway – and off we went to college to start, when my age was 6 months old. I have the red crayon-scribbled Calculus book to prove how integral I was to the collegiate process.
The photos of a happy little family, living in a Quonset hut, scrabbling together, me as latch-key kid, are hidden among my archives, but I found one of me at three weeks old.
Today was my mother’s birthday. The snow of yesteryear is gone, replaced by trickles of rain down my cheeks. It’s okay; California needs rain. I am fostering weather, whether I like it or not.