Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rain in the forecast for Saturday

The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window
October 2, 2007
And Did It Ever Rain

The kids were over to their friends' houses as Friday was Homecoming and some of the festivities spilled over into Saturday. They'd come home around ten Friday night after the game (we lost) and their shoes were covered with mud and their cheeks were bright red. I made some hot chocolate and they were breathless as they told me how it all went, how the pizza was so great and the game was really fun and they walked around and didn't get into any trouble, honest.

On Saturday morning the phone started ringing around 9:00 and by noon the kids were gone. Mr. Sundberg had been gone since Wednesday, off to speak in Seattle all about time management and how to get where you're going without stepping on anyone. So there I was, alone in a quiet house, so I thought I'd take a hike out in the woods along the river. I got the little backpack down from the top shelf of the pantry and threw in a bottle of water, a couple apples and snacks and gum and a watch and a flare, because you just never know. Threw on my hiking boots and my rain jacket and off I went.

I love being out in the woods, even in the rain. And did it ever rain. I walked from the house on down the hill, over across the field and that's when it started pouring. I made it under the trees just in time, which kept about half the drops from hitting me. As I walked, I hummed a little bit, and stepped on a lot of dead limbs and rocks and one frog, who survived with minor injuries. I could smell wet pine and moss, and a strange spicy smell I couldn't identify. I could smell the river, too. That dense, musky, fishy smell I've loved since I was a kid. I walked all the way to the boat landing and found a log and sat down.

I sat there a long time. I watched the river flow on by, how the waves climb on top of each other and fall off, how the raindrops hit the water. I saw fish catch bugs, and birds swoop down to catch fish. I saw a snake and a turtle, and I thought about how not too long from now everything will be frozen and snowy and cold. I thought about what the kids and Mr. Sundberg were doing that very minute, and how they were missing out on this beautiful afternoon. Which was perfectly okay with me. And I thought about how my life isn't even half over yet, and everything ahead, and how funny it is the way some days are heavy and some are light. The rain came harder, and I pulled out a chocolate bar and unwrapped it and ate it piece by piece. Except for the last, which I left behind there on the log for whatever it was that came walking or crawling or inching along in the rain on a Saturday afternoon.

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