Days like this remind of one of my favorite novels, Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. I return to it time and time again.
It starts on the shores of Africa, a simple breeze among the palms and cassavas, before it’s carried off, tied up with thousands like it, on a strong wave heading due west. A world of water, heaving and rolling, weeks of water, and all them breezes die but one. I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice. Restless and disturbed, no land in front of it, no land in back, it draws up the ocean vapor and rains fall like tears. Constant rains. But it lives on to meet the curve of the equator, where it swallows up the heat waiting in the blackness of them nights. A roar goes up and it starts to spin: moving counterclockwise against the march of time, it rips through the sugar cane of Jamaica, stripping juice from their heart, shedding red buds from royal poincianas as it spins up in the heat. Over the broken sugar can fields–hot rains fall. But it’s spinning wider, spinning higher, groaning as it bounces off the curve of the earth to head due north. Thous oldest mine eyes waking; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. A center grows within the fury of the spinning winds. A still eye. Warm. Calm. It dries a line of clothes in Alabama. It rocks a cradle in Georgia. I call to remembrance my song in the night. I commune with mine own heart–A buried calm with the awesome power of its face turned to Willow Springs. It hits the southeast corner of the bluff, raising a fist of water to smash into them high rocks. It screams through Chevy’s Pass. And my spirit made diligent search–the oak tree holds. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings–the tombstone of Bascombe Wade trembles but holds. The rest is destruction.
Miranda hears it in her soul. The tall pines in the south woods go. The cypress in the east words go. The magnolias and jasmines in the west woods go. A low moan as it spares the other place. But then a deep heaving, a pounding of wind and rains against wood. A giving. A slow and tortured giving before a summons to The Sound to rise up and swallow the shattered fragments of the bridge. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid. The depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water. The skies sent out a sound. Thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven. The lightnings lightened the world. The earth trembled and shook. Miranda goes over to her sister, and gently she closes Abigail’s Bible. Their gnarled hands rest for a moment on the worn leather binding. Abigail puts the Bible away and sits beside Miranda to listen to the heaving, screaming winds.
Willow Springs is a barrier island, and unlike beyond the bridge, it ain’t a matter of calling them winds by a first name, like you’d do a pet dog or cat, so what they’re capable of won’t be so frightening–a prank or something that nature, having nothing better to do, just decided to play: one time female, one time male. But Abigail and Miranda is sitting side by side, listening to the very first cries from the heaving and moaning outside that darkened and shuttered house. Feeling the very earth split open as the waters come gushing down–all to the end of birthing a void. Naw, them winds will come, rest, and leave screaming–Thy way is int he sea, and they path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known–while prayers go up in Willow Springs to be spared from what could only be the workings of Woman. And She has no name.
Thanks for reading.
Be safe, everyone.