Dark Clouds

Dark Clouds

I’m getting the hang of retired life. I’m a natural. Being retired is like being a child again. Eat, sleep, and repeat. The rest are only details. Too much information. Like a roller coaster in fast forward and the only thought that crosses my mind is to hang on and scream. It’s happening fast, the movements are violent, and the consequences are certain. The end of the ride is near.

The wind stopped and the birds landed. Bohu’s darkness fills the sky over the back yard. Season’s are changing. The patterns are predictably unpredictable. This is the calm before the storm. The wind holds its breath and we all listen, wait, and watch to see what happens next. Is this the end?

No. This isn’t the end, but it’s the beginning of the end. It’s times like these when I remember I get to choose the happy ending or the other ending. My decision is clear, but how’s my faith? Who are those dark clouds for, anyway? Will my sunset be another’s sunrise? And then?

Silence. Nothing. Not even the wind’s breath moves in the fronds of the palms or the leaves of the mango. A solitary bird sings in the distance. Didn’t he get the message? Another answers his call and reminds him this is a time of silence. We all listen, wait, and watch to see what happens next.

Am I dreaming? Is this one of those confusing daytime dreams that look, taste, smell, feel, and sound more like life than life itself? Wake up, I tell myself. Where are you, I ask myself. Are you here with the rest or there with the best? Is this a dream?

Is this storm for us, or is it for another? The birds call, the roosters crow, and the distant roar of the fast and furious on the never quiet highway signals more of the same, in spite of the storm’s dark threat. Life goes on. Life goes beyond. Life and death meet at the intersection. Look!

Both ways … look both ways! Look left, look right, and look left again before crossing. There is no coming back. There are no second chances. Look both ways. Always look, left, right, left, up, and down. Do it now.

Still nothing. Children play, cry, whine, and the one lonely bird on the horizon refuses to stop his song. Hasn’t he heard the silence? What’s he singing? Doesn’t that bird know now’s not the time to sing happy songs? Should I join him in his song?

I pinch myself and laugh. I’m awake! Am I awake? Can I be sure? What if I’m sleeping? How can I know the difference? The intersection’s signage is not what I expected. Red, yellow, green, do not enter, no stopping, no standing, and no speed limits … what’s next? Maybe I should go back to sleep to see if I wake up in a place I know.

The dark clouds are watching me on the sky over the back yard. Are they waiting for me? Are those vultures? What do they wait for? Enough with the threats – give up your thunder, lightning, and rain! Is that the best you got? Are you trying to scare me to death before you shock, deafen, and drown me? Give me your best.

The lonely bird soloist continues his jingle. Doesn’t he know another? I believe I’m awake – I hear a macaw scream and a rooster answer … is dawn near? Is there light beyond the darkness? It’s a mocking bird?! That would explain it. Are you grounded? Why don’t you fly away from the storm to dry safety? Wouldn’t the rooster fly away if he could? How sad to have wings without flight.

A shaft of light peeks through from backstage and the clouds exit stage left and right – they know the star and fear his light. What a relief to know even though the dark clouds surround me that they, too, are surrounded by the light.

Thunder. There must be renegade light somewhere. Did it come from the north. The rumble broke the silence and the bird’s song. They heard it, too. I’m not dreaming. Dark clouds, stale air, and now the disobedient light’s rumble. It’s closer now. I didn’t see it, but I heard it. It cracked from the top and split all the way to the surface. It tumbled and grumbled all the way to me. I admit – it got my attention. What’s next?

Intersections, changes, seasons, tides, seconds, minutes, hours, and … the dark clouds. The sun will retreat soon and leave the dark clouds in a darkened sky. Who cares about dark clouds when it’s dark? Bohu swallows the clouds and saves them for another battle with the light.

Rain. Large quantities of rain. I can smell the rain but I can’t see it yet and I have not felt the first drop. But it’s here. I can see the wet spots on the tin tops.