The air is so heavy, so moist I almost feel as if I could grab great fistfuls of it all, smash it together, and fling them as summer snowballs.
It has been raining, incessantly it seems, but today, miraculously it is not. In truth, I don’t want to go outside but the fact that it’s actually dry is more than little guilt inducing. So I sidle onto the front porch, tentatively blinking into the sunlight like a mole who has just emerged from her subterranean warren. The heat around me bears down like a heavy woolen blanket and I am absorbing the feeling of flame, my skin almost crackling, sweat beginning to drip like pan juices.
From high up on the porch I can look down on the cars below, their metallic shells gleaming in the harsh sunlight like the brilliantly colored backs of the jewel beetles, suburban scarabs.
The walkway curves in front of me, but I’m dragging, I’m dawdling. Oh go, just go for a bit! And so I do, sluggishly shucking off my lethargy and dipping into the afternoon.
My feet slap awkwardly at the pavement a bass thrum counterpoint to the soft muted blue of the sky. The grass is uncombed and unruly, having grown bold and swaggering after weeks of rain. Weeds sprout with insolent abandon, bullying the surrounding flowers. There is no one on the streets, save myself, and even the cars scoot by furtively as if ashamed to be out in this heat.
And yet, the houses look cool, calm, collected. These are proud little city houses, each perched on tiny intricately formed postage stamp plots, buildings that sprout in proper formation like the petals of a bachelor’s button, their stubby front yards bearded with hedges trimmed so tight and so crisp that I swear you could bounce a quarter off the tops.
The trees that anchor the sidewalks appear isolated, standoffishly separate. But I know that’s not true. I know they are all linked by an unseen riot of roots reaching deep to the center of the earth, stretching always towards each other, clinging to the soil.
I think about this for a moment because it’s that linkage that I am yearning for this afternoon, that linkage that I crave.
We stumble through our days, all of us so busily patterned, the lines of our anxious movements separately mapped like the intricate tunnels of an ant farm. The lonely paths seem so separate, a crisscross such a bitter rarity.
For all of you who are so very far away, I wonder what your days are like, do we sometimes wake at the very same instant, choose the exact same sandwich for lunch, laugh at the same absurd joke, dream the same dreams?
Forget cell phones and texts dinging at us all for just a moment or two. I love that too, it’s fun and a bit titilating and you bet I love it as much as everyone else does.
But there is something even better.
Once, a very long time ago, someone I loved very much was very far away. We made a plan. Separated by miles and oceans and time zones nonetheless we would think of each other at the very same moment. Eyes tightly shut, hearts reaching out, a connection that crackled. It happened, it can happen again and again.
Because of course, below the surface, roots run deep, steadying the trees to grow strong and upright, but always as well reaching out towards each other, for each other. Deeply connected. Beyond time and place.