Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A touch of ivy


There was a storm coming, you could smell it , you could feel it in the air that was thick and humid. The trees knew it was coming, and they showed the silvery underside of their leaves in the slightest breeze. Ivy knew it too, she loved thunder and lightening, even it's earthy fragrance.
If she had been born in another place she might have become a "storm chaser".
But big storms were are rare here. Her youngest was about three, and Will had brought home a kitten for him, Ivy's thinking was that the kitten was really for Will, but it was no matter. She had been out planting peas and the when she got into the house JR was very fussy, the cat wanted out, then it wanted in and then it wanted out again and again. Will was trying to finish putting in a new threshold on the front door, the old one it turned out was just a slab cut from a log. The sky turned a weird mustard yellow, and the wind picked up suddenly. Ivy marshaled everyone together and ordered them into the basement...Will grumbled the whole time that it was just a storm and not a tornado. Then a sound like the train that went to the furniture mill every day a 5 was running across the floor overhead.There was a loud crack and then silence. After a few minutes they went upstairs, and Will, still carrying JR and JR now holding his Kitten went to the frontdoor. "You women make too much of things! " he growled "it was just a storm." Ivy bristled but said nothing.

She went into the kitchen, the power was off, not a surprise, but the phone still worked. It was a Friday and nearly supper time, and tonight, it would be either hot dogs or mountain pies roasted on a the fire. if they could find any dry wood. JR was rattling handfuls of rings from canning jars, and giggling away, when Will came through the back door with a handful of papers. "Get your camera and come out here." , he said in an eerily flat voice.

The yard was littered with letters, cancelled checks, even clothing. there was a blueberry bush on the roof of the old shed. The stand of Norway spruce that blocked the view of the new housing development was flattened and most of the houses were shattered, beyond that Ivy could just see the High School, to night was Commencement!

A clap of thunder roused her from her thoughts and sent her scurrying to shut down her computer.
Huge raindrop crackled against the window, driven sideways by the wind, and just as soon as it started. it was over, the air smelled fresh. Ivy opened the window and settled back in the chair.
"Oh, why did I ever let Della talk me into going to a knitting class. Mr. Chips?" Mr Chips did not reply. "I have been out here on my own for so long that...." her voice drifted off.

Ivy sat for what could have been minutes, hours, days even decades in her mind, She felt uneasy, like something was about to happen, it was hard for her to go back out into the world. It was only with the greatest of effort she forced herself to go for groceries and errands. But meeting new people, being in public these things were scary. "Can't sit here fretting like and old woman, hell, I am an old woman. Mr. Chips I need some fresh air. I'm just being foolish, if I keep telling myself that may-be I'll start believing it."

Ivy put her faithful and comfortable gardening clogs on and started to walk down toward the stream. The air was brisk and fresh and thew sunshine felt good, but Ivy still felt unsure. Gus Nelson was headed in her direction, "How do you like the new bridge?" he yelled. "Love it!" Ivy responded She could see how frail the once gentle giant of a man had become, so she walked faster so he would not have to climb the bank. "Now we can visit more often." Ivy said, she could see had something on his mind. "Do you remember my cousin, of course you do, you always had a little candle burning in your heart for him, I haven't seen him since the tornado, anyway he called me right before Christmas to say his wife had died." Gus paused. Ivy was about to say something like "sorry to hear that" when Gus said" It was a mercy, she had be suffering for years." "Della told me." Ivy said. "Well did Della also tell you that he is coming back to live with me and help run the farm?" Gus said with a smile.

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