Echoes of the Wind

The Storm

I want to say I was six years old when that storm swept through our camp, threatening to dislodge our cabin from its precarious moorings. The evening began with a morning and the morning started innocently enough, ending dramatically with a hard rain punishing the tin roof of the shack we lived in for a season. A season labored, although agreed upon, was worth more to us than what was paid. But then, such is the life of migrant workers.

Mamá was busy patching the patches on our jeans and shirts on the black, manual Singer sewing machine. The kind where your nimble heel-toe movement on the treadle moved a belt and drove a stabbing, silver needle to hold together a thread bare, torn fabric… mended for the fields the next morning.

I was sitting on the floor next to her. The cold air coming through the cracks in the floor where I sat, chilled me and I moved closer to the wood stove. She was teaching me to darn socks, a skill she assured me would come in handy throughout my life. Of that she couldn’t have been more accurate.

La Voz de Dios

Mamá didn’t hear the rumbling thunder churning menacingly above the dark, wet landscape of the labor camp, long after we retreated from the fields and were safely in our cabin. She didn’t hear my voice either. I don’t recall what we were talking about when in the midst of the thunderclaps and flashing lightning the fateful voice came…and everything suddenly stopped. I sat, stilled by the void…trying to read the wrinkles on her face. I was drawn to the silence, after the swoosh of the treadle and the whisper of the needle ceased. Fearfully, I looked around the eerie silence for an explanation. It was then I became aware of the percussion of the hard falling rain drumming on the roof above me, reverberating off my skin. When I looked into Mama’s face she was gone, no longer there.

All these years later I still remember the storm and the very moment Mamá stopped and listened to the voice. It was then the naivety of childhood ended, ushering in a time of mystery and magic and my world irrevocably changed.