“Did you see the moon, God’s thumb nail”
“It sure is cold, they’re saying below 30 tonight. Brrr. No thank you”
“We had the prettiest sunset yesterday, wish y’all could see it”
It started when I left for college. Every few days my mom or I would walk outside and notice (or decide) something in the sky, the moon and the sun and their various phases, or the weather and its unpredictability, or the horizon and its canvas for beauty, was worthy of grabbing the other’s attention. Sometimes there really were goings on among the clouds that we couldn’t let each other miss. Those, such as these
were accompanied with an inconsequential caption like “look what I got to look at on the way to work.”
The comments and really the pictures themselves were irrelevant. They probably could have been anything. What mattered is the service they provided. They were a vehicle for conversation, casual and unimposing but just interesting enough to elicit a response. For my mom and I, reflections on the atmosphere were “I miss you,” or “I wanted to talk.” Sure, neither of us were so cold as to refuse a “just checking on you,” a “y’all sure are quiet, what’s going on up there,” or my favorite, “don’t know nothin, just saying hey.” But a picture of a sunrise perfectly hid our insecurity over our neediness that required daily conversation in order to be satisfied while also making it clear the sunrise is not the focus. Innocuous remarks on the need for rain segued into deeper talks of family matters, stresses, and, last, the ache in our hearts over the absence between us. Though there was never a time when either of us struggled to say I love you, talks of the weather made saying it seem easier. An I love you out of the blue was nice, but one often wonders of a subtext from an unsolicited confession of affection. Does it come from urgency or sorrow, what’s the larger meaning. An I love you from a talk about rain brings with it no intonation except itself. It’s pure, as if the conversation reminded the person saying it of their love the way one is oft struck by a sudden memory or reminder of an earlier wandering ponder.
Sharing the weather gave my mom and I an ever present topic, a reason to never let too much time pass between our talks, to without guilt send a text that conveyed less about the weather and everything about how much we missed each other. It’s been so bitter, overwhelming, bitter, sorrowful, just minutely, fleetingly sweet to observe weather in the five months since her passing. I’ve lost basically my entire reason for ever looking to the clouds, have no reason to ever again remark on the happenings of the skies, and yet, I’m comforted by a dazzling horizon because I know as long as I live the hues of the heavens will always bring my mother to my heart.