The Elephant Sky

December is finally summoned by winter's dawn, delayed and darker than expected. I pace the cold timbers with the struggle for light ahead of breath. How happily evergreens hold all the cards now!

Days arrive in a certain scarcity – a dingy sky holding the ashes of waiting. On call for sunlight, patience is folded into coffee and velour. The family gathers in the living room to share heat and a few songs during the power outage. Guitar and candlelight. Hallmark in action. Which other place sinks love so far in? Yet, the star in the east beams on clear and clouded nights alike.

The wind tears at the remnants of autumn and throws its carnage about. All night something was heard scraping and running and dragging on the roof. When the neighbors mentioned the same experience, an exorcist was mentioned.

During the discussion of racism he asked if I had ever noticed how outside of privilege, white Americans don't have a narrative. They are afraid to lose their story. I wasn't sure if that was meant to elicit compassion, but the question still snakes about in the cochlea of my days. It joins up with the wormy thread that asks what one's role is in the matter of injustice. Where is that mountain top shack built upon the peace that surpasses all understanding? One starts to wonder if the climb is a retreat from madness or an ascent straight into illusion.

The storm pushes the village into alertness. Grocery lines are long and clerks keep asking if we are ready for “the big one.” Maybe the squall will save me from his retirement party whereby I will surely drown in gushing adoration for a man I do not like. For he's a jolly good fellow . . .

At 4 a.m., how soft the snow. How barely heard. How helplessly kept. The unwelcomed necessities, a teacher. From my window, I try to imagine a way through the snowflakes, but I fall into the seduction of just a few, every time. There isn't knowing or not-knowing, only the ordinary measure of clouds. This is my lesson: the perfect season exists in every breath.

And today, under the elephant sky, the student transcribes the heart as happy.