We woke up Sunday morning to wild storms, a tornado warning, and the loudest thunder I've heard in years. Thunder doesn't seem like an adequate word for it. Whatever it was, it was on us. It got in our ribs, it made the muscles and nerves tense and shift around our ribs. As for the lightning? Two reactions: an awareness of the top of the head and a belly-deep need to crawl into a cave.
Which my mother, dog, and I did--or at least our version thereof--nineteen years ago. We were in the house my parents owned north of Tampa-St. Petersburg, a few miles in from the Gulf. The red warning banner crawled across the bottom of the TV. And suddenly the new house didn't seem like adequate protection against what was happening over our heads. The lights went out; the transmission towers in the distance flared blue. So the three of us went into the laundry room, sat on the floor, shut the door, and huddled by the washer and dryer, as if by being that close to the ground we'd be safer.
We passed our Boston terrier back and forth between our hands until she stopped shaking and panting and her heart calmed down.
This past Saturday it occurred to me that my mother had been gone one year, exactly. That day.
No wonder I'd been feeling restless and bored and incredibly tired of our hotel room. It felt good to put a name to that feeling, even if I was just feeling restless and bored.
Mothers to Elephants. I can't look at an Elephant without thinking of mothers, and here are the pictures I'd promised. If you haven't already read Mark's post on our visit to the Audubon Zoo's Elephant House, you can read that here. Just one thing I'd like to add. I thought that proximity would make me feel closer to the elephants, but they were almost too much to take in up close. I got a better sense of their thinking, their humor, when I stood out there with the others, watching them shifting from side to side, turning their butts to the people. But every once in a while in the Elephant House I'd look up to their eyes, long lashed and a little wry, which let us know they were looking back.