I am standing on the deck looking out at the sky. Tonight’s sunset is an orange smear low down near the horizon, her usual grand tones stifled under a mass of menacing rain cloud. Indeed, the drizzle is already here; I am flattened against the wall, using the narrow gutter for shelter. The sunset is bookended by two tall trees, each rocking slightly in the wind, their leaves making the sound that leaves make when the wind forces them from their usual position. A sparrow flits in gracefully and disappears amongst the foliage, I hope to somewhere warm and dry. I am drawn to thoughts of sleeping wild. When I was younger (which is to say, a child, rather than all the rest of my life), I thought the plants would be protection, that I could lay out under them through storm and rain, and be kept dry and warm. Like so many untested assumptions of my youth, I was wrong.
The sky darkens and the orange fades, like a fire slowly dying. The wind picks up, shoving the trees around belligerently; there’s no real conviction behind the bluster, but enough to make me wish I had put on my jacket. I had nipped outside on an impulse, as the last rays of the sun caught my eye through the lounge window. I fold my arms around myself and wait, knowing it cannot be long. In this, I am correct, but only because I know what I expect when I think of a long time. The fire flickers and goes out. The sky is now wholly gray. The trees move and settle, move and settle, anxious to sleep but restless in nature. I allow myself a deep breath, and then I head inside.