The Types of Weather Where I Live
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Look outside. Look to the sun.

It’s more than the sun, isn’t it? Picture yourself out there — look past the screen, through the window, beyond the bycatch filament-wire keeping the bugs out. Think beyond your body — become the saplings on the ground, the raccoons in the trees, the hawks on the branches and the crows on the galeforce tearing through power lines and flattening willows. You are the plants in the castoff of the hatched dragon’s-egg boulders and you are the clouds bolting the searing pale white beyond like ragged sailing cloth strewn on the waves after a typhoon. You are all of those things, and you are as much yourself as you are the dirt on the ground, and because of that you are me. Know this, keep this, become this. This must be your mindset here, no more and no less for this to work.

Are you ready?

Yes. Let me tell you of the weather where I live.

There is rain. Do you remember that? This is unlike every rain that came before and after, rain unlike from rain in the same degree as sun in winter is unlike from sun in summer. Different leaves are hit, different needles pierced by different-shaped droplets. The rain bears down like a firehose upon the green and the boughs, torrential downpour scorching the land in a way hurricanes promise to do. Think of the clouds. Fist to the ground, pummel the soil, pack down the sphagnum of the swamps and the peat and the silt of the bogs. This land has the kind of rain that makes even the tallest trees curve their branches – ever wonder why redwood cedar is like that, branches bowed as though under a terrible weight of the world? Great swinging branches, those trees have. Good for climbing – not slippery, low enough you can grab them, branching off enough to form comfortable lattices where you can take a break. Even during the rain. Feel the chill humidity, the roar of a god’s waterfall punching down. Feel the trembling of the trunk; the storm has increased, the rainstorm — there are few storms here in spring, only heavy lashing rain whipping scars into the land. Wholesale destruction everywhere, grass and people and newspapers in the street beaten to a pulp and then to a stain, to be cleaned up later by those who remain (that’s what the streetcleaners are for).

Smell the incense-bark of that grove of trees, thick and heady despite the powerwashing from above, perpetually curling up to ward off fire. All warm and soft in the hearth. A forest fire — so far from now. Don’t go from your chair, don’t remember where you are — as a bird sheltering in the hollow of woodrot, would you wish for the trees to burn, for that short throb of heat in the rain to steam and crackle, dragons of the flames hissing in scorn at the great gey-black above? Do you want to cook, to become a raging wildfire in the storm?

Do you want to come down?

The rain slows. It’s not you — it’s exhaustion. You can take your riot shield umbrella from your back, unfurl like an oyster lapping at a plankton-soup current. The storm is tiring, its fuel expending, slumbering. It’s still up there, heavy and dark and looming, but even the elk know that it’s safer now. You don’t come down though. Something in your feet, scaled and taloned, knows. Keratin overlapping curls up like pinecone wings in the damp air. You stay.

You blink with your own eyes. Now you — you who sits, you who slumbers at the screen waiting for something new, who burns hours like matchsticks, who devours the givings of the world because they taste good and nothing more, who waits, devastatingly waits, for someone besides yourself to right your path and correct your course in life. You who cannot move on your own, who cannot generate momentum by yourself. You.

I look at you through your eyes. It's your beloved, isn't it? You don't understand him. Why he flies out there despite the pain and the horrid and the despicable and the lonely weary bad of life. Why he seeks out pain.

Why he doesn’t come home.

To you. You who are restless and still. Do you remember when last it snowed? Not roadslush brown or gravelpadding grey, but white: outside, the pale, blinding fury of the blue leviathan that ate the sky, the deafness of mind that came when you stayed in the drifts while the sun was out. Rain is pouring down still, the sky a leaky faucet now instead of a firehose, but you are inside. Your beloved is not.

Snow. This place doesn’t know, do you realize? Didn’t. This place is a city, a forest, an urban jungle. Lived in by pigeons, elms, oak, swordfern and redwood, oregon grape so spiny with ungrapeish snowberry-plump fruits purple and blue that pop like wineberries between the fingers of children, splattering them crimson used in playacting of blood and pigment for wood. Do you remember when you first came here, your first season? The pale fluff of Odin’s coat was scarcely an inch, and you were so surprised. The people who bear the name of this place say that the trees don’t remember snow — it was only a dusting, even during the arctic fronts blowing in from Alaska. They say that’s why the trees burst, snap louder than gunshots, explode in cacophony of bark breaks and heartwood shrapnel. The bears knew no difference between this hard winter and the usual mild but would wake from slumber with shrapnel in their muscles, festering.

Trauma affects those nearest, even those who were not there themselves.

Let me take you home, however briefly.

Look up. At the blank ceiling, Grand Canyon craggy with water damage where you spilled tea upstairs and let the ballast storm down the termite tunnels until the cloth-thick paint of your ceiling bulged, tumorous with caffeine and heartbreak.

Look there. And hear the thunder.

The rain has come. Back to me, now. My feathers are soaked — cock our head and ruffle, shake, tremble, scramble like a wet dog, spray the rain from our back and wings and fishhook beak. Scratch our head like a cat to its ear, through the sleeked-down feathers and damp there. Another crack of thunder, a bolt of lightning seen only as an afterimage — this place isn’t safe anymore, dear eagle. Uncurl your frozen-solid talons from the cedar now embedded in the scales of your toes and plummet to the ground like a warbomb, then splay your wings wide and find a dissipating column of rising heat in the collapsed black-and-blue horizon and flop nearly hovering in the downstreaming like-raindrops-on-glass air as an umbrella snapped open in a windstorm before breaking its spines and closing outward.

Hit the meadowgrass with the legs and fleet body of a secretarybird and sprint into the poison sea of wolfsbane flattened by the assassin-storm that flushes waste and fertilizer and decay of the world into the abyss of the sea. Then flatten with the wolfsbane, stare up at the sky with your snake-eyes — and with a gentle nudge from me away from stillness and obscurity as snakes tend to be, lick the air with your heat-pits to change the shape of this body and retain the wings of before: Quetzalcoatl we are now, coil.

Above you is a captain piloting a hot air balloon beneath the burgeoning clouds tossed every which way, and because of their state they feel there is nothing to do but jump and hope they live as they careen toward the forest floor like a peregrine stripped of its wings. You cannot see him yet — be patient, we will get there. The rain chills, the thunderstorm changing its shape, a god in the making. If this storm is a god, you are its devotee, or perhaps it is your devotee and you are yourself. If it is your apostle, this god-apostle storm has told you, through electric shocks in your mouth and behind your eyes like hypodermic needles questing for nerve endings to plunge through brain matter, that its every mote is heavy and pregnant with electricity.

Lunge at the sky and become the thunder that lightnings the ground, and perform in an instant what nitrifying bacteria takes decades to do.

    • _

    I sense your exhaustion. Stay with me now, take a breath. Another. Become liquid, drip from my mind back into yours. Become aware of your surroundings again: the texture of the walls, the position of your hands on your desk, the cool heat of your heart and bellows in your ribcage and the rasp of fabric against your skin. Become yourself again. You.

    Are you okay?

    Let’s do an exercise. Lean back. Relax your muscles, become loose and floppy as wet tissue paper. Now, take a deep breath in and hold it for the duration of this next sentence.

    The weather outside is terrible because you believe it so, and you believe it so because on your body you hold keep-dry electrics and papers and tarnishable things you do not wish broken or damaged by the rain — do you understand how this affects your relationship with the world, that if you left behind all that you held dear and brought with you only the wool clothing on your back and the hair on your head and the eyes in your skull and the memories in your mind you could go anywhere, freedive through city and forest and sky and ocean and storm as you pleased, walk in the rain and swim in the sun in your clothes and fear not the day nor the night nor the cold nor the snow nor the sea nor the storm; that if you went outside without your links to yourself save your body and mind you would be free to do absolutely anything, unconstrained by what you wear or what you must protect or what you are or are not allowed to do, could simply be in the world without fear of damaging yourself — I ask you, why have you long since not swum in a river in your clothing and laughed as the water streamed from your hair after you swung on a tree-hooked rope to splash into a coldwater pool — I ask you, think on your life and tell me: when was the last time you went into the world bringing out nothing but the clothes on your skin and bringing back nothing back but the joy of your experience, troubling not for your own preservation and simply for existing without fearing for how you appeared — I ask you, why do you sit upright in your chair when nobody is watching, and would you refrain from singing alone in a soundproofed room if given the opportunity — I ask you, consider asking yourself why that is the case that all of these are no, and I asl you, tell me where your wonder has gone and why it has been replaced by caution.


    I am a god of knowledge, of continuation, of air and sun. I give you this knowledge because that is what I do and that is who I am.

    Let me teach you something else, tear-faced one on the couch: your weather is only as bad as what you bring into it. I do not demean your experience, mind — weather is foul and some storms flay not only electronics and clothes but skin as well. But whether you live in a world of storms or an island of temperacy, weather is always fouler if you are holding the Mona Lisa rather than a drysuit. Sometimes the world will seem an endless stretch of bad until you are numb and tears refuse to fall because you’ve run out of water. I know. But I believe in you.

    Hear the wind outside, the gale, the typhoon. It rattles your little house and threatens to strip the roof from over your head and expose all your entombed-in-paper memories and life scrapbooks and computer and books and fancy clothing and keep-in-a-cool-dry-place perfumes and artwork and clay and need-to-pad-the-feet-of-all-furniture soft wood flooring to the elements. Hear this, seep the cold outside into your chest and soothe the starving animal in there with its own fear like a barium swallow to suffocate a parasite — cool it to minus thirty two degrees Celsius.

    Take a breath. Another. Lean forward in your chair, sit up straight. Clear your mind, focus on me. Remember that balloon pilot? You do — they are near and dear to your heart. The love of your life, the leaves to your branches. Look at them from my eyes as a winged serpent-god, lightning and thunder.

    Let’s go there.

And up we go.

Climbing higher, the ice has frozen solid on our feathers, waxy stiff and solid. Power through the gale and slam into the basket — turn them into fingers, leap in and land with feet fully formed, naked against the onslaught of near. Your fingers grasp the cord of the ballast, your legs tremble. Your pilot-companion does not see you, is staring down, blanched pale and streaked with tears that will only dry tomorrow if he is there to experience the dawn.

And then there is only one person in that basket. It rocks beneath them-you-I-us in a lurch with the wind, and we sway a mile off course in minutes. The countryside is a blur, black land below indistinguishable from ocean. You hope it’s a forest. We separate again.

A sick feeling in their stomach. Jump. What have they to lose?

This is why I brought you along. Speak.

    • _

    ”Why are you here?” the pilot asks above the rain.

    I give my body, formless and malleable as it is, to you. We are green plumage electric against the stars and we are the thievery of bones from a sunless land and we are the second light in a quickening of last winter’s storm. We are the brightest star at dawn, and we are knowledge of the world and its people. But above all else, right now, we are you.

    “Because giving up and giving into despair is only an option if you are a coward,” you say to your beloved. And you continue over my storm.

      • _

      “Because hating yourself and your work isn’t a method toward progress. Because courage is finding reasons to try something new and actually doing it even if that thing may result in embarrassment, a waste of time, or failure. Because to love what you do is to love the inherent experience of being a person. Because loving your own art is the purest form of loving yourself. Because if you cannot face your own art, it is because you are afraid to look in the mirror. Because if you cannot face your art, then you cannot dream, because dreams are made of yourself.”

      And you breathe.

    “Because denying one’s ability to create freely is the greatest form of damage one can do.”

    And you say, “All the life that we live is a grand painting, an oilpiece, a statue, a monastery logbook. The world we live in is endlessly weaving our tale, even after we are gone. Love yourself because you are art, and love your art because it is you, and to make art is to embrace the world you live in.”
    And you say, “I love you because you are my world.”

You loosen your hold on my throat and we say together, “Stay. Stay. Don’t jump. You are no peregrine — hear it now, swooping above the thunderclouds, waiting for a place to land because peregrines have small wings unsuited for long flight — no, see it, strange raptor that you are in your balloon of canvas and steam-laden smoke. There is rain. There is bullet-hail, there is the night wind that burns with cold, there is fog that blinds. There are all of these things, and they will not stop.” Our eyes are wet with rain and something more. “The world is terrible. But do not die. We would miss you.”

That’s enough. Our legs tremble, turn to fins and talons and a ropy tail and more, then back to me. We fall out from the cabinbasket, leave the pilot be — they cry out and clutch after you and do not fall. Their balloon is descending. Plummet down with your back to the ground, roar of the wind in your face, outpace the raindrops — they won’t jump. Not today. Today was a bad time to be a person — remember that for them, that this is the highest-lowest they have ever gone. But now they know they can survive. They have been here, now, and they know they can do it again and live. They exist in an air balloon — that is how they must be, do not berate them tomorrow when they land in the wolfsbane field out back, crumpled sac their air balloon becomes after landing, for recklessness, for how they will go out again tomorrow. This is how they must be, and you need to support them in living.

Lurch back before you hit the ground, crash into your living room couch. Where you have been sitting this whole time. Sit, stunned, for a time.

That was good, wasn’t it?

Now, I let you go. Feel the tears draining from your body. Relax into your chair. Blink, and see the world in a spectrum of colourful blur and fuzz. Feel me leaching, slipping away like rain from an oilcloak. Grasp — no, don’t, not like that. Grasp after the memories of tonight. Let me go. You have a beloved to attend to, and they are coming home, down from their air balloon like they do every night while you are here and the fields are tended.

I know this is hard for you. That is why I brought you with me tonight.

I have a request for you. Don’t look out the window only when you hear thunder. Look outside once in a while when there is quiet, when there is but the lightest pitter-patter of spring sprinkling to diamond the grass and trees and flowers, when there is the buzzing of bees or the singing of wood curling up like a cat’s back from the coaxing of the sun’s heat. Open the blinds on a sunny day, open the shutters to let in the evening and the dawn. And I ask you this, too: when your pilot makes dinner, when the LED-buzz of the kitchen is a song and the fly-sound is background orchestrals, breathe and remember the day. Let your tasks not be monotonous. Every day is special, unique in the galaxy that becomes your waking time. In each day there is happiness to be found.

Remember what we did today. Your pilot will land in the morning and see the sun. And they will be alive, and for that the tears will dry on their face, and yes whatever they had that made them fly up so high in a thunderstorm will still be there in their life but they will be there to face it, and they are one more person on this Earth who can say they lived through a storm in which they thought they would die.

Look outside. The rain — my rain — pours down there still, but it is not a downpour. Not anymore. There’s a rainbow coming, you know. I’ll see to it. Will you put up the blackout curtains to reduce the glare of the sun, or peek around to see my colours?

I leave you here in your home. Let me fade, don’t scrabble after me. There is so much more to the world than me. Don’t spend the rest of your life searching for a memory. Look forward.

Know that, despite everything, the sun. In defiance of it all, the sun. In acceptance of all the pain and the memory and the hurt, the sun. It glows up there. That’s where I’m going, and that’s where you can call me down again if ever you wish to ride the weather with me once more.

Your pilot-lover. Let me tell you what I think is going on. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember the bad from the good. But this time, for now, all we had to do was to be with them, and wait out the storm together. Don’t destroy what you have, and don’t be afraid. They are coming inside now, through the back door with the key you gave them alongside your wedding band. All that you need for love is time, and time is right here. Get help when you need, and give to others when you are able. And survive, because life is survival at its basest and thriving is what comes after that. You must lay the soil before a garden can grow.

The sun.

The sun.

The sun is coming.

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