Rain, Lightning, Shifting

Friday, July 11, 2014


A few days ago my dad and I spent hours passing five-gallon buckets back and forth, bailing out a sunken patio off the basement. He filled a bucket with water, half-way full, and lifted it up to me where I was standing on a ledge. I passed an empty bucket to him. We had a motion, a rhythm. I found my stride near the end and counted 10, 15, 25 buckets before taking a break. Every 25 buckets took the level down a half an inch.

We were drenched at first. Then we stopped to dry off, to watch the electrical storm (and avoid electrocution), to admire the double rainbow. I took a few minutes to practice catching some lightning with my camera (see above).

Mom vacuumed the water seeping in through the door, past the sandbags.

It could have been much worse. One of my brothers had 4 feet of water in his basement, held steady by 4 pumps, then the fifth pump, an industrial pump, took it down.

It was bad enough as it was. My dad rooted himself in the water, in the mud. We worked silently, talking during our many breaks. I am not as strong as my father, but our strength is equalizing. Equalizing as he ages, as chemicals and disease take and release footholds; equalizing as I pound in fence posts, wrangle sheep, scrub floors. Our breaks were for both of us.

When we stopped, the water below a safe mark, I offered my arm as we waded through water, mud toward the stairs leading up to the lawn. This is not role reversal so much as role shifting. One does not take over one role to replace it with another. We slip and slide and find our footing in other, perhaps similar, sometimes wholly different places.

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© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.