Monday, April 27, 2009


There's a steady rain going on outside, and a teenager sitting on the back steps in the rain, thinking. The sound of the rain is especially loud because the gutter is clogged and the water is spilling over the side, pouring on the pavement below. The water is also quietly seeping into the corner of the basement even farther below.

It's such a tall ladder you have to use to clean the glop and the leaves out of the gutter. It's heavy and awkward and not at all fun to climb.

Last week it was cold rain, rain that about froze my early red dwarf tulips, one of the few plants that thrive from the days long ago when I gardened with enthusiasm. Over the weekend the warm weather, the wind, and (I suspect) some impulsive children finished the tulips off before they ever had a chance to show their perky redness in an appropriate spring setting.

Kind of like that teenage boy on the steps, who does not seem to travel in a congenial environment. People let him down. (His mother, for one, failed to follow through on a promise to have supper ready after volleyball practice.) Teachers fail to say what they want clearly and cogently. Girlfriends get angry and want what he can't fix. He can't will everything back into place. He can't seem to find a place in the sunshine, just more homework, more things that are not quite right.

How, where, do we all fit amid the glop and decay and water spilling everywhere? We go on thinking, trying, in the warm rain, the cold rain. Trusting and trying, hoping that the sun will shine more brightly tomorrow.

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