Silly me, thinking life would calm down after Em and Ry’s wedding. Slow its pace a bit. Dish out more expectation than surprise.
How could I have forgotten what I learned years ago? "Normal" is an over-rated myth. The road to everyday, as in paths common and ordinary, is more of a slippery slope. I mean, really – just three weeks after the wedding, (a time frame within which I had fooled myself into believing life would begin to follow a predictable path) storm Alfred blew in through one overnight, reminding little ol’ Mommy-of-the bride me, NOT to take Mother Earth for granted. The she-god’s point, via stormin’ Al, could not be taken lightly, not after the snowy intruder ushered in over a week of no heat, no electricity, and no work (since the community college where I teach was shut down from Monday right through Friday).
I was one of the lucky ones. I had hot water through the powerless week. I could handle the debris in my yard as opposed to not-so-fortunate neighbors who required tree removal services – some before the electric company could reattach their power lines. I did have one casualty, though, my favorite tree out back below the kitchen window. A dull stump the thickness of two fists now sits where a hundred-year-old wisteria stood three weeks ago. It's sawed just below the bough that broke from the weight of the single-night’s storm, a break that continued to split into the twisted trunk. The damage would have rotted the tree to death, for sure. This way there’s hope, according to my good neighbor, the one with a chain saw.
Come to think of it, during that short time between Em and Ry's brilliant wedding day (the second week in October) and the wintry October anomaly (the last) my sought-after normal got interrupted by capricious highs and lows: a surprise letter (snail-mail even) from a long-absent pal, two cancer diagnoses of close friends - both of whom had surgery in that time, news of two engagements, a perfectly healthy woman's passing followed by the surprising recovery of an elderly neighbor, the rise and fall of three presidential nominees, record-breaking volatility in the stock market, and one European crisis after the other. Reminds me of a poster I had on my college dorm room forty-plus years ago: Not to Decide is to Decide. Today’s equivalent would be Expect the Unexpected.