A calm spot in the gale

I'm sitting in a heavy, white wooden rocking chair on the deep, blue-ceilinged back porch at my parents' home. A mighty wind has blown unceasingly for the past many hours. Tom finds it ominous. I love it and wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.

Apparently, there's a tornado watch in effect.

I don't know where the boys or my parents are, the baby or my sister. I can't hear anything over the wind except the chimes, which are working double-time singing their as-yet-unwritten song in real time. The porch fans are off but spinning admirably. 

It's high tide, and the bayou is racing past. Can something race languidly? I never thought so, but the bayou does. A lone egret slinks carefully across the edge of the mudflat on the other shore; slow step, slow step, long pause. He assumes statue pose and stares intently before deciding the fish isn't there or isn't catchable. Then, he moves on. I wish the roseate spoonbill would return. He's such a becoming shade of pink. And that beak! Prehensile serveware.

In the yard, the leaves are running even faster than the water just beyond. On tip toes they skirt across the prickly St. Augustine blades. The grass is greengoldbrown; it looks like it thought about dying for winter but then realized winter wasn't really coming. It's in purgatory. 

The live oaks and pines and cypresses are demonstrating why they rarely topple, even in all the storms and gales they weather down here. Both strong and flexible, they move with the wind as if part of it. Their cones and seeds stay put, holding on to the branches as tightly as the trees' roots do the water-saturated earth below. 

I remain happily tethered to the porch. The swing and other rockers wave and sway, as if inhabited by imaginary friends. Birds tumble throughout the air in controlled fashion, and the clouds move so quickly I am certain I'm watching a time lapse.

The Christmas lights, star-shaped and pale blue, that Mom hung all along the porch railings dance too. They seem somewhat out of place on this warm December day, itself a rather out-of-place thing, really. My bare legs and feet and arms have not a single goose bump. I'm glad I pulled my hair into a ponytail before coming outside. It needs to be lassoed right now.

It's not remotely quiet out here, but to me it feels wholly peaceful, which just goes to show that restorative silence is a relative thing. 

For the first time in easily conjured memory, I think I feel relaxed. I am no longer sure what that means, but this feeling isn't familiar and it is lovely, so surely that mystery counts for something.

I love this place. The magic is undeniable. It's not intense, there are kids and surrogate parents all around, there is ample space and are fewer expectations of cleanliness and decorum. I'm not saying it's optimal but there is something SO freeing and right in all the laissez-faire'ness of here.

Tonight we spent with first and second and third cousins, a steak-and-play dinner unlike most. There was an excess of wine and also dessert. Bedtime rules flew away with the wind. But everyone was happy, and happily worn out. 

And I will miss this place that I still call home.