Posted by: alegra22 | March 2, 2012

clearing away

Tonight the storm moves toward us. I hear it gathering on the roof, in the chimney. I feel the horizon blurring beyond the walls of our home. “Why is there a storm coming?” Zaviera asks. I lean against the wall and sigh. “I don’t know, I might have to think about that one and tell you tomorrow.” I’m aware of the small, compact curves of her body and delicate bones, the way she watches me intently, expecting that I should know everything. What I’ve given her is not enough so I try again, “The storms come to blow away all of the old things. Sort of like when I clean house, I come blustering through, getting rid of everything old that doesn’t belong. I gather all the clutter and throw it away. That’s what a storm does – it gets rid of the clutter.”

“So a storm is like God’s cleaning?” she says, pulling her dadu out of her mouth and tilting her head.

“Exactly, it’s just God cleaning. Now go brush your teeth.”

Yesterday as I drove, I noticed a chair in the middle of the road. A garbage can was on its side.  Pieces of paper and plastic were strewn across our driveway. Puka and Magnolia leaves huddled around them. I didn’t register the stories of winds that had been blowing trampolines over fences and up against road signs. I didn’t think about the winds that had bent trees and pushed chairs across our deck. I made up my own stories, “Who tossed a chair in the middle of the street? Who didn’t pick up that rubbish bin? How did that meat packet end up in our driveway?” My mind was too occupied by numbers. The money in, the money out, the money owing, the ideas of how I might change all of this and balance it out while completing my thesis and rewriting the novel and submitting short stories again and occasionally snuggling my toes into my husband’s lap and feeling the quiet blessing of his breathing.

I push away from the wall, pick up clothing, a receipt, torn pieces of paper, a dish, a crumb, a toy car, and I want to turn to our housemate, Andy, and thank him for being part of our family, for simply being alive, but I don’t. I throw away the receipt, the torn paper, the crumbs. I toss the car into its basket. I slot the dish into the dishwasher. I put the clothing into the laundry basket.

The wind gathers in the dark.

I am looking forward to the way this storm will wrap itself around our family. For weekends, Dan has taken the children to Hamilton so that I could catch-up on things, but now we can’t afford that extra money for gas and we’re grateful, because here we are, together, gathered in the warmth of our home.

I go into the bedroom to hum Sol and Zaviera to sleep. Zaviera’s belly is exposed and I hover my hand just above the softness of her skin. “So precious,” I say to Dan. He laugh-smiles, the way we do when there is no other way of describing this warmth of purpose that is parenthood, this awe of what we have created together.

Later, I will bring up the short story I’ve been working on while Dan plays Skyrim. I will trust tomorrow to tomorrow. I am grateful for today.

The storm has arrived. A wave of rain presses down around us. Water gathers in the streets and runs into drains.
I am ready for God to clean.



  1. God’s cleaning system…I love it!! If more people looked at it that way, there would most likely be less scared children during storms. I love the fact that Z “get it” too.

    When a storm hit’s literally or metaphorically everyone is affected differently. But if we are able to look at the positive nature of a storm, the light at the end of the tunnel, then storms are as bad as we think.

    Love you guys and miss you guys.

    • We love and miss you too!
      Yeah, it is funny because every time a storm has rolled over the island, it always stirs up peoples moods…I think because we are all forced inside, it is like an imposed hibernation period and in this case comes with perfect timing. Feels like we need a good blustery clean out!

  2. I love your idea of God cleaning. Sometimes out in the bush where I work I feel as though God is putting on a daily art exhibition, his feelings and frustrations and pleasures etched across the sky, outlined with clouds and brought to life with the blaze of sunsets and sunrises. I imagine him sweeping his hands through the ether, scraping nimbus & smudging cumulus clouds at will. Magical. Best of all though, I love your daughter’s calm acceptance that of course God is cleaning!

    • Helinor, This was beautiful. And yes, I can imagine this so vividly. xxx

  3. I am sorry, i don’t know you and i can only quess what you are going thr at this time. I do know Alziere when she was going to school here in Piopio.
    My aroha goes to her as well. I too have lost a loved one through motor accident. The words that were given me at the time were, “underneath are the everlasting arms. As He (Jesus) has Earl in his arms, know He is your comforter and strength and has you in His arms also. May you feel the love and warmth of His presence.

    God bless Kay Taitoko.

    • Thank you, Kay. For these words and having the courage and aroha to write them out.

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