Tag Archives: Challenge

This Too Shall Pass (rough draft)

We seldom remember the beginning of any storm
Those first few drops of rain so inconsequential, the whispering sound of their community falling and gathering all around
Nor does the water ever seem too high or strong or dangerous
Until it is

On the day my Uncle was found dead just such a storm had been building all around my family and I
Each drop piling high, singing the creek out behind the house into a rage
Until finally the water could hold back no more and all its chocolate milk fury came at us with a thunder and command befitting the gods of long before
We were overcome

This was the day I watched the road buckle and like a blister, popped and exploded its tar memory into the all consuming water
And the day I watched my car get filled mere feet beyond my reach
And above all, the day my uncle, homeless and undesired, found dead in a Colorado street.
Momma wailed, not cried, and the water no matter how loud couldn’t drown her out
First she thought she was losing the house and then she found out she had lost her brother
Was there no good left to God?

My mother and father stacked their valuables as high as they could, hoping the water’s reach would not compete
And all the while I thought of Bay Saint Louis down in Mississippi where I had dug just such valuables out of strangers homes
Mad Lady Katrina had a higher reach than any shelf or even roof
But I stacked my stuff too and let my family hold to their belief

We were trapped
The water was all around, there seemed no hope, out back a river, out front a river, all around the rain gathered their community and sang deaths ugly tune
Dad and I ventured out, we had only one chance, “how high is the water papa?”, old man Cash once sang
Too damn high

Momma had a distant look on her face, her brother’s death had stained her soul, and the water that should wash away dirt was instead carrying it and threatening to stain her even more
Dad gave me an ax and a look I’ll never forget
We started chopping down the fence he had built some summers ago, and somewhere between the swings, I had become a man to my father and an equal
And somewhere between the swings, I asked God why and even prayed, and all the while I thought of what I’d done to help others

I had done more than watched, I went down to dig out the buried lives of those drowned poor souls of the south
When Katrina tried our nation, and found us wanting, hadn’t I gone? Hadn’t I done something more than most?

And somewhere in the swinging the rain slowed and the waters went down
We seldom remember when the storm comes and seldom see it’s recline but no truer joy had I felt than when the creek of my childhood had lost its bite
And left me with its gritty hard lesson
There will always be rain and floods but we can weather any storm if we pick up the ax
And no better boat than the family that rows together

Like all great rushing waters, and floods, and all storms along life’s way, the waters shall run their course and in due time, this too shall pass



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