Birthing Storms

I liken it to dying. I liken it to birthing storms. Standing on that top, back to the world, wind in my face. My hand reaches out, feeling for the warmth of the bark, the empathy and mystery that only a tree can't quite give and yet promises. Finding it, feeling the pocked skin of a nevergreen, an alwaysgreen, a somethingelsethangreen, I lean on it hard. Sap fills my nostrils, banishing for a second the harsh ozone of the storm. Opening my eyes then, I survey my world. Rain. The first thing is rain, calmly descending on the lush fields of clouds below. It cares not on what it lands below, only that it passes through the bottom clouds, completing a journey from an unknown height that I can only sense, like an itch on the top of your head that you cannot quite locate or reach.

Then, there is sound. The sweet rustling of the rain through clouds, the silent, temperate breathing of myself, the notsound of the comforting tree. I am tempted to close my eyes again, but all births must be borne through with eyes open lest the child become a human. And so, with storms in mind, the third thing is the stinging. Held open against the wind, held open for the rain, held inside and outside for the hill, I gaze into the clouds. A few days ago I would have attempted to pierce through the clouds, to glimpse the land that lies below. Now, all I do is take it in. Gently swaying, in time with the wind, I allow the view to be what it is, allow the storm to silently contour what I am.

Slowly, there is music. Into the wind the hill leans, breaking ancient currents. A slow keening unfolds, speaking the pain of the birthing of storms, speaking my pain for just a few moments. I open my mouth, water slowly filling every cavity, every tongue-absent crevice. My throat is the perfect receptacle, vibrating in time with the wind, with the pain, with the hill. The blades of grass, once a thousand tiny hands clasped around my ankles, now sing in time. The hill becomes a sounding room, a place where echoes are given life, borne alongside storms. In a daze now, I begin to walk. Softly, like cushions for the treading, the grass accepts my feet and raises them ever so slightly.

At last, there is the slope. The hill slowly rises behind me and my hands are spreadeagled now, embracing without thought all that they can scoop. The rain intensifies. The wind continues. The sound escapes me. The music abates. Standing, alone now, I realize I have forgotten the tree, the nevergreen, the notquitegreen. Too late now. I turn one last time to survey my path. Somehow, by some trick of perspective and water, I can see the field. But the hill, the hill now captures most of the scene. And on it, of course, is the alwaysgreen, the tree, the staff, the shelter. I raise my hand to wave. It waves back. Singing again, I scream a faint goodbye. I do not know if it responds, but I do know that it is green. Turning, I face the storm, arms open, throat open, eyes open, song open.

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