out the window to my right, a late-afternoon sun creates a trembling patchwork of leaf and shadow, the brilliant green of those above shading dark the leaves of those below. curled tendrils grasp windowscreen, branch, thin air, a canopy of loosely woven limbs. i am taken aback by the abundance of these plants, how they clamber wildly up the side of this house and the one next door, rising above the rooftops to get at the sun. i open a second, west-facing window and breeze floods the room, full of the mild scent of warmth and a tinge of the neighbor's curry. i can just see into the backyard, where tomatoes, zuchinnis, peas, peppers and lettuce have fought a mostly-losing battle this summer against a host of better-adapted weeds. i hope that some of them are native plants, struggling against 91,000 acres of city and winning in my boyfriend's backyard if nowhere else. we don't pull them out, essentially for that very reason. we are loathe to kill anything green here, even if it chokes out our peas.
clouds are gathering, great grey forms above a thin strip of yellow sky. their bulk crowds out the sun and turns the greengold cacophany outside to a more reserved array of hues. all the leaves seem poised for rain, hovering in anticipation. i feel that way myself, listening to the strange rasping cry of an unseen bird drowned by the growl of helicopters. i'd like a good rain, not just a breif afternoon thunderstorm, though those have consistantly delighted me these past few months. what i want is a storm, the kind that threatens all our false bastions of control - toppling power lines, flooding streets, the kind of storm we feel compelled to give a name to, its power so overwhelms our own.
i want to be humbled in front of the world. there's no opportunity for that here, only the smug, muggy feeling that we have conquered. i've discovered over the past two years that i don't believe in cities; they're fundamentally unstable, the way we do them now, and deeply at odds with evolutionary sustainability, not to mention my own personal mental health.
the setting sun clears the cloudbank and for a moment shines directy through my window and into my eyes, glazing the whole world golden. the light fades and strengthens in a slow pulsebeat of passing clouds. if only we could find a way to be so constant in our transitory movements, so solidly fluid as cloudshadows, changing the landscape only for as long as they remain.
i'm leaving here, this wasteland of surprising fecundity, where grasses claw themselves out of every sidewalk crack and mushrooms spring up like subdivisions after every rain. it isn't enough for me, even with the changing seasons and the drifting of snow and colored leaves. even with love. i'm leaving because i can't stand it here and i have a deep and desperate need to find a place that will quench me, that will be big enough to hold me and small enough to let me in. i need a new context within which to see myself, wider skies against which i can learn the measure of my silhouette. i'm afraid of leaving until i think of it as leaf
ing, as a tiny bud of opportunity squinched tight as a baby's fist, just ready to unfurl and amaze me with its beauty. i've got my eyes on the horizon now; the sun sets into west philly but also into the sea, and the rain is coming.