Listening to W-G-O-D


It’s a little after 7am and I am drinking coffee. A deep grey cloudbank sits on the eastern horizon, hanging low; so complete is its presence that its threat seems diminished. What appears to be an osprey is looking for breakfast in the James River. He (she?) makes a sharp dive and is gone. He reappears moments later, talons extended, I’m too far away to know if he’s been successful.

It’s windy, and the breeze carries him toward the cloudbank. He glides effortlessly. The porch swing and trees rock to nature’s passion. I anticipate some rain, but here in Nelson, nestled in the mountains, I am supposed to be beyond Irene’s reach. And yet, my thoughts wander back to weather maps that show so many I love under the distant cloud cover. The home screen on my cell phone shows rain, a windshield-wiper crossing the screen every time I pick it up; a subtle reminder of the distant chaos.

While waiting for my coffee to brew, I watched the flock? gaggle? murder? bevy of hummingbirds swarm around the two feeders outside the kitchen window. Pictures to be uploaded when I get home. Preserving bandwidth.

I am the only guest at The Porches today. I would be surprised if anyone was venturing through the threat of the storm to come today.  A poet was here when I arrived, but she left while I was cloistered in my room yesterday, rewriting a piece to be submitted to Yahoo.  I reduced it from 1117 words to 589. It was work and I spent the better part of four hours un-writing. But I’m happy with it.

I worked all day Thursday, abandoned my staff with an unfinished schedule a little after four. Shopped. Ian and I got the car loaded just as a thunderstorm rolled in. I pulled out of the driveway as the skies opened—with vengeance. It was almost as though the Universe was challenging me—how determined are you? I drove on with each mile the stress of the week falling further behind.

As I crossed from Powhatan into Cumberland, The Eagles sang Life in the Fast Lane; The Dropkicks, Shipping up to Boston; then Bubba O’Rielly played; we’re not gonna take it! I opened the windows and turned the music up. Steppenwolf, Born to be Wild. Creedence, Fortunate Son. As I crossed into Buckingham the tone changed, Gordon Lightfoot, Carefree Highway; Sinatra, My Way; Buffett, A Pirate looks at Forty; The Dubliners, Spancil Hill; Cat Stevens, On the Road to Find Out; Three Dog Night, Out in the Country.

As I turned on to Norwood Rd Loggins and Messina began The House at Pooh Corner

…You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done

Count all the bees in the hive,

Chase all the clouds from the sky…

Once upon a time we called it W-G-O-D, the music mimicking the need, the universe talking in not-so-subtle ways. It was nice that before I was even 30 miles from my office that I had quieted my mind enough to hear it.

The wind is picking up, the clouds becoming denser, the hummingbirds are finding quiet places to ride out the storm, I wonder if they think about their cousins to the east…

At the moment, Guy Clark is reciting The Randal Knife; it’s a piece he wrote after his father died. Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death… Yes, I’m still listening to W-G-O-D, it reminds me that I’m in the right place and that it’s all going to work out.

I am going to refill my coffee cup, charge my iPad and laptop so that if the power goes out, I will be able to continue to write. The leaves have turned over in anticipation of the downpour to come—it’ll wash away the dust and grime of the dry air and allow a fresh beginning, new growth.

If you have not done so already, please go and read my essay on Yahoo. Recommend it to friends!

Weather the storm safely.

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4 thoughts on “Listening to W-G-O-D

  1. Nice piece Mel. Hope the things that you want work out for you. I really enjoy your writing, keep it up. The storm brushed by us in the night with no more damage than displacing my porta-john 20 feet to the left of where I had it….Praying for Lori and all those in the path of the storm now. Going now to read the Yahoo article..Have a great day.

  2. Very nice. I checked out the Yahoo piece and had a great time thinking back to when my buddy had a ’76 El-C (He called it Elsie). I think the engine size might have been in the 400’s, but it FLEW. He used to let me drive it often, “Drop me off (at hom, at girlfriend’s) and pick me up in the morning, I don’t feel like driving.” It FLEW…fun times. So much younger, so many fewer worries. Just a student, doing carpentry weekends and summers to pay tuition, and driving Elsie!

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