Tonight the storm gathers on the roof, in the chimney, against the walls of our home.
“Why is there a storm coming?” my daughter asks.
I lean against the wall, arms wrapped around knees and of all the answers gathering in my roof, my chimney, against the walls of my mind, I reply,
“I don’t know, maybe ask me tomorrow.”
This is not enough. She watches me intently. I should know everything.
“Storms come to clean.””
She nods. It has been one of those days. The atmospheric pressure driving an internal storm, a maximum capacity cloud burst. I’ve moved through the house, wild like the winds, blustering and gathering and hurling toys, dishes, blankets, papers, laundry.
“Like God cleaning?” she says, pulling her pacifier out of her mouth and tilting her head.
I push away from the wall to pick up a teething biscuit crumb, a stray hair.
“Sometimes,” I say. “Maybe.”
I’ve given my daughter nothing conclusive. I feel her eyes on me a moment longer, my fingers gathering to the crumb, the hair, a piece of gravel. She wanders down the hall, into the bedroom, shutting the door with great conclusion.
The storm gathers as I gather grains of sand to the crumb, the hair, the gravel. I gather until the voices in the bedroom settle. I gather as the gentle inhales and exhales expand into snores and snuffles
The storm is done gathering itself, it has arrived.
Rain slams against the roof, the walls, the trees, the street.
I roll sand, hair, crumb, stone, pink ribbon into a small ball of conclusion. I walk down the hall, muscles weary from clearing paths through bottles, books, dinosaurs, blankets.
I enter the bedroom, the night light catching the profile of nose, ear, arm escaped from beneath blanket. Shadows stretch from eyelashes. They pool between tangled limbs.
My small ball of conclusion, of gathered debris, has become precious between my fingers. It is the bits and pieces of our day, our living, our being.
Outside, the wind has its way with the trees, shaking and roaring, and cleaning, I suppose.
Maybe, leaves and branches and seeds; like crumbs, golden hairs, a pink ribbon are swept or rolled or carried away into a ball of God’s tidy and loving conclusion.
I don’t know, I’ll ask my daughter her thoughts in the morning.