This world is waking and I slide behind a table in a Hampton Inn. An older gentleman sits in the corner, newspaper lifted around his face. In the line for breakfast, a worker arranges the oatmeal bowls while a tall, lanky man fumbles with the eggs. They talk about the wind. Always the wind in South Dakota.
On the TV screen, weather reports pepper the country. It will rain in the Rockies, slipping to snow overnight. Storms sweeping through Ohio, steady streams rising rivers in Kentucky. And here in Sioux Falls, sunny and 70, clear overnight. And windy. Again, always the wind.
I stare at pictures of places around the country, just a girl in the back eating banana bread, sipping orange juice, wanting the report to swallow her into its arms.
All this weather I’m watching makes me realize how I am simply one quiet girl in this expanding world. Someone in between many lives, wondering which one really is hers.I am simply one quiet girl in this expanding world. @SRennAwake Click To Tweet
The woman has finished cleaning the bowls and talks of photography to the clerk behind the welcome desk. She is taking lessons, learning about lenses. She will go to the zoo to practice, and hopes her sister will let her photograph her niece.
An old song crackles through the soft speakers. About a china doll down in old Hong Kong. When I travel I am detached, strung between lands, an observer of life. I always think about home when I look at local weather, line my eyes with where it lies on the map. But I will not be home when I get off the plane this afternoon. I go to a place I live, where I am here, ruffled by a city still filled with strangers.
Southern Deluge is what the weatherman on screen calls the torrents of rain along the southern Atlantic.
My phone buzzes. Mom tells me of my grandparents holed in a rehab facility—my grandpa, because he is weak; Grandma because she won’t leave her husband of 61 years. I cared for them as I could, as best I knew how, before I moved. Mom takes a load of responsibility, as does my aunt and uncle. I long to be there to help ease their burden.
Beach Boys through the speakers now. Don’t worry baby… Don’t worry baby, don’t worry about whether you’re in the right spot, about the crumbling health of your best friend, about the deepest fear that your words won’t ever make it past your own pages. It’s raining all over the country, scrambled eggs are feathered with ham and cheese, and you are a girl with unruly curls let loose around your shoulders, hunched over your notebook writing. Life breathes in. The hotel workers discuss the breakfast menu as if it’s the most natural conversation in the world. Today is eggs. I thought we had bacon. Not today, it is eggs and waffles.
And somewhere in the expanse of God’s design, is a place for you, wandering girl. Where you are meant to be cajoled out of the shadows.