It has been raining today. My little office is at the back of the house, in the extension – which has a tin roof. All day I have been listening to the water grow stronger and then wane. Pouring down so hard that I can’t hear myself speak on the phone, then reducing to a drizzle, barely registered on the windows.
Today feels like a crossing. A bridging from one time to another. I have given up my other few little jobs and have decided to work full time for The Lunchbox Fund – making a commitment. It has been a while since I had only one job. But it feels right, focused and solid.
For the past week my dreams have been full of strange images: last night of five elephants – walking beside me on a drenched railway line. Each beast looked down at me as it passed and I stopped and watched them go. When I woke this morning it was raining and the dream was still as vivid, so I looked to ‘Dream Moods’ for a translation. “To see and hear rain falling symbolizes forgiveness and grace, fertility and renewal. To get wet from the rain indicates cleansing from your troubles and problems … You need to let go of the past, perhaps there is a memory that you are holding on to for too long. The number five represents each of the senses.” Unmistakably; a transition dream.
But not just for me: in ten days time my parents are moving to live in Cape Town. Leaving Johannesburg, the city that has been their home for forty-one years. Dad will be 80 next year, and my mom is 77 – and they are starting again. A process sometimes discussed, but considered in earnest when my father’s brain started to bleed in January. Those little cascades of blood have forcibly mapped out new territories for them.
My mom is emotional and frazzled. In part from the organizing, but in part because she is torn. Yes, she is moving to be with people she loves, but she is leaving too: her bridge friends, her familiars, her routines and especially her newly-widowed best pal. For Dad – he is coming to a new life, he does not need to look back. But for Mom there is as much a going away from as there is a going to. And the weighting between the two, shifts continually.
I know that feeling, it’s more than being ready – it’s about needing to be ready. I am not sure she is there yet. They will land somewhere safe and warm with us, but they have the hunt for a new home ahead of them. One that needs to answer many hopes and wants. And the thought is stressful. But Marlene, a trusted family friend has promised my worried mom: “Don’t worry, the house will find you. It did us.”
Today the rain seemed to demand a wading through of shallows. So I went with it and caught up with a lot of the small things I had to do. Suddenly it was 5.30pm and I felt flat and melancholy. The rain stopped for a minute and I took my faithful hound for a waddle in the wet; we watched ducks and he rolled in rain soused poop. Then the torrent started up again and we had to jog back home: leaping puddles and dodging other runners. I swear the furry fellow was laughing.
On the way I remembered this poem “April Rain Song”, by Langston Hughes. It was written in Harlem, about the streets of New York: where all of this change began for me:
“Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.”
And I love the rain. Change is never easy – but this time I am ready.