Promises.

A thunderstorm rumbles in early Saturday morning, in that darkest spot before dawn. We’re nearly at the solstice, and the days are long and lovely, full of just the right amount of warmth. Our Vermont world is in bloom.

The rain this morning is welcome. When the downpour passes, I lie in bed beside the open window, listening to the pattering of a gentle rainfall on the leaves of the mock orange below my window. In bloom now, its flowers are white as snow.

In my memory runs a few lines from an Eric Clapton song. The day before, I had driven to St. Johnsbury, a road I had often driven when I was first married. As I crested a mountain, VPR cut out, and that song came over my radio, scratchy. Long ago, we had a second-hand turntable, and a few cast-off records, and that album we played over and over.

The thing is, I didn’t like the album much at all, but I gradually came to like it, maybe simply through habit. That one sweet song had always been my favorite. Now, over the radio, my past returned, fuzzy and unclear, but never forgotten.

A year ago, George Floyd had recently been murdered, his death replayed endlessly around the planet. Riots erupted around the country. Now, under a different administration, Juneteenth is honored.

So much. All that great wash of the past — from immense societal waves to the tiny trickles of our own lives — pushes us along. And yet, sweet rain on this quiet morning. Even the hungry cats press their whiskers against the screen, welcoming in the morning.

Surprise Visitor

I went out to the garden yesterday morning for frozen sage for breakfast omelets, and my neighbor walked up from her woodpile and asked for a favor.

Without thinking, I said yes. Sunny and sharply cold, the morning was already filled with the radiance of a bit of fresh, sparkling snow. The grass crunched beneath our boots.

My neighbor’s moving, and her pump organ needed interior storage for the winter. The old, exquisitely crafted organ was made in Brattleboro, in the Estey Factory, near where I worked in college at a nursing home.

My brother, who’s visiting, says, Where are you going to put an organ?

I was on my way to work, so I mention that maybe he and my daughters could manage that one particular detail. We’re laughing at this unexpected turn of events. Who imagined an organ would arrive today?

Not one of us play. When I come home from work, the girls tell me how the neighbors’ two friends carried the organ up the icy hill and into our house. My youngest lifts the keyboard cover, puts her feet on the pedals, and pulls the stops. My brother and I look at each other. The melody, even from her untrained hands, bellows deeply, soulful.

My brother says, Wow.

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