Breath

In tiny waves of light the morning came. I stood above my son, watching him sleep. Outside the ash fell and the birds were quiet, but, inside, the house was full of his breath.

I wonder if this is how all mothers will feel on the day the world ends.

The wildfires are still burning just east of us, eating up the Gorge, tree by tree. Our windshields and our lungs are covered in their tiny remnants, reminding us how close we live to the line between what we control and what we cannot.

It is dark and quiet, even during the day. The sun has turned a terrifying shade of red.

I drove my son to preschool this morning, a little world brimming with glued pinecones, songs about raccoons, and kind-hearted teachers who have handwritten each child’s name on the classroom wall.

On our way home, we passed a man riding his bike with a mask over his face, and overheard two men at the grocery store anxiously discussing evacuations.

The contrast between worlds is impossible to reconcile.

And this is to say nothing of the flood waters in Texas that are rising, the nuclear weapons that are festering in the hands of angry men, and the unchartered seas that are filling with people looking for a home.

It is hard to catch my breath.

It all feels so very apocalyptic.

Scripture claims that Creation is groaning, and I can feel it tonight, feel its ache in the tightness of my lungs and the sting of my eyes.

And, maybe that is the way it should be, that we would grieve what has become of us and what we have done, but lest we despair, we should also listen for the sound of our children’s breath, reminding us of all the beauty that still remains.

CLAIRE CAREY DEERING believes less is more, in writing and in life.

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