The wind raged and the rain lashed at the clapboards of our little house last night. A fleeting thought flashed through my mind in the moment before drifting off: the giant white pine in the yard--a crack splitting the dark, and a rush of air and limbs as the great god of all trees fell. I'd had a vision like this once before, when we lived on an island a few feet from shore. One night during a storm, my mind's eye had seen the waves bounding up over the rocks and carrying us away, cats and house and all.
I wasn't afraid then and I wasn't afraid last night. Both times, the oracle had given me but one possible future, and as my cat curled the yin of his legs into the yang of his belly on the pillow beside me, I fell into a deep sleep to dream of the squirrels who live in the pine, their nest rocked and tossed like a boat on a stormy sea.
This morning I opened my eyes to white sunlight. The wind had died, but I was alive. Downstairs in the kitchen, the cat cried for his bowl. The radiator awoke with a knock and a hiss, and I heard my husband's feet shuffling from cupboard to stove to sink. We were all here just as we'd been thousands of times before. There was toast to be made and juice to be drunk. As I passed by the window on my way down the steps, I glanced out at the ancient pine. A small branch or two had fallen in the night, and a few dozen gnarled cones littered the lawn, but the tree seemed unfazed by the storm.
Beneath it, the squirrels raced to gather black sunflower seeds and dried corn. The day's work, and its joy, had begun.