Twenty miles south, the little Pryor Creek has taken over my sister’s farm. See the pine tree? Underneath those branches is where our dogs -my Buster and her Katie- are buried. See the barbed wire? They are cutting it down so their sheep can reach high ground. I ask her to let us come help. She says there is nothing more to do. She’s been learning she cannot fight the rain.
In town, we walk along a sidewalk next to a yard sale. Two toddlers are sitting on the lawn playing here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people. Chubby hands, stubby fingers. Stout steeples.
Their older sister is trying to play with a baton she found in the ten cent box of toys. Her wrists don’t flex and so the baton moves like a club in her hands. Gramma says: Give it to your mom. She was once a baton twirler.
We stop to consider the box of paperbacks sheltered under the elm tree. Daughter turns to mother with a grin. Mother deftly reaches out for the baton. She steps out on the sidewalk, her feet picking up the beat of her old school’s march. Five, six, seven, eight! The baton twirls with silver and purple sparkles. The toddlers unfold their steeples to clap for their dancing mom.
It has begun to sprinkle. We scan the skyline behind us and see that our southern sky is blue and so, for now, the raindrops feel good on our bare skin.