I find it hard to sleep when the wind roars like a freight train all night long, as it did a few nights ago. Certainty wears away a bit more each time it peaks into a gust and the bones of the house emit a low groan. I start to think of the Wizard of Oz.
I don’t enjoy glancing out the window at a white pine five feet beyond that is so big that I can’t get my arms around it and see it slowly pitching back and forth in that seasick way. Or looking on as all the week’s recycling blows about the yard and the dumpster, now on its side, flips again on its way toward the treeline behind the house. It feels like anything could happen; everything could just blow away.
And yet, I didn’t always feel this anxiety. Here’s a poem from a much younger me, who saw opportunity amid primal chaos.
These Things Happen
Sometimes, when the wind is high,
the trees rip up their roots and topple.
Sometimes the roofs of trailers fly off despite
the bald, peeling retreads that weight them down.
And half a village will vanish in the ground
as sinkholes gape wide beneath it.
So kiss me under this streetlamp, and in the hallway
of your house, and halfway up the stair.