The wind is blowing outside as I write on Monday afternoon. Yew boughs bounce and bend. A slight chill seeps through the floor of my converted-porch office. Beyond bay windows and walls, rushing air ebbs and flows with a whoosh and sigh, whoosh and sigh, like the sea, like a giant’s lungs.
The Earth breathes. I breathe. Every morning when I awake, I say a prayer of thanks that my lungs fill with ease. Each breath feels delicious, comforting, the most basic reassurance that I am alive and still healthy while mired in pandemic time. I meditate and follow my breath and observe how each inhalation and exhalation is so different and unique to that precise moment while at the same time so unremarkable as to be forgotten in the next.
Yews boughs bend and bounce. I watch for a cardinal or blue jay to brighten the branches that have turned gray-green in the pearly light of approaching rain. But they are wise to the weather, tucked into their nests or other hiding places to ride out the storm. Somewhere nearby, I can hear a bird singing, but don’t know enough to recognize the vocalist.
No bird answers. A car sweeps past. A siren wails in the distance. My ears ring with decades-old tinnitus that I usually ignore. It is a constant internal concert of rushing, high-pitched tintinnabulation on the right, countered by a deep, soft lowing on the left. It becomes more insistent in stillness, an irritant that I normally brush away with music or conversation or concentration.
On this pearl-gray afternoon, however, I don’t mind its reminder—that I am still here, sitting at my desk, pondering the next phrase, as the wind rushes outside, and the birds find refuge, and the rain approaches.