Courtesy of Kyle Winkle/Unsplash.

Cyclones are better than wildfires, than
smoke that blows hundreds of miles to
thicken the air. In the East Bay, high
levels of particulate matter from our
regular winter pollution are blown away
at forty-to-fifty miles per hour as
the storms pummel our flats and hills
drenching the earth not quite enough
to combat years of drought as I ride
through hail and flooded roads to borrow
a car so I can pick up the children from
school. Workers ford what seems like
a river on one side of the road. It is
sensational, but we are used to sensation
have grown close to the concept of
apocalypse over years of worsening
climate disasters. Just as we consider
leaving, the clear and temperate times
return, and we feast on delectable vegan
sushi, repose with friends beside the bay
reading aloud speculative novels, our
relocation plans set aside. I walk the muddy
paths of a Tilden trail, creek full and rushing
circumambulate the usual redwood tree like
the murtis in a temple, appreciate the soft
and slick places beneath my feet, the way
raindrops displace lake water in perfect
vertical splashes and intersecting concentric
circles, my pants sopping at the thighs. My
question is not “When will it stop?” but
“Is it too slippery to climb?” I want to ascend
the ancient hollow bay laurel and lie back
on one of its diagonals. I reach for the mossy
enormity of a trunk that could fit twelve
of me, inhale the single digit purity.

Shilpa Kamat is a poet, educator, and healing arts practitioner.
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