On nights when the moon looms large and I want to stop being small, stop thinking small, stop dreaming small, I watch the wide white clouds moving overhead and instead consider their pace, their steady way of moving through the sky. I have nothing new to say about them, these clouds, that countless other writers have not said before me. It is enough to consider how I love them, even on the days when they are unmoving, or the days when they stretch into thin, barely there puffs curling like smoke, even on the days when they roil and break into storms, with jagged fingers of lightning stretching down from them, with rain coming down fast and uncaring, spilling into streets, into gutters, into treacherous pools on the road way.
This evening the clouds are unhurried and broad, moving evenly across the sky, and there is still a toad living on my patio in a small hole he has made for himself near the rocks and underneath the edge of my sidewalk. Occasionally, on nights like this I can hear the soft song of his croak, a counterpoint to the night insect song in the neighborhood. Sometimes I stare at the hole he has made, hoping he’ll show his small brown head, hoping for a kind of quiet company that makes no demands on me on the days when the world and its woes are too much and I am ready to say stop.
Inside and upstairs my three year old sleeps. Tonight at bedtime, as if to make up for telling me yesterday that he didn’t love me anymore, he crawled into my lap and lay there, head nestled in the crook of my arm, holding my hand to his chest. He was sleepy, wanted me to rid his room of shadows so he wouldn’t be afraid, and I felt grateful that to him, in that moment, I could be like this evening’s clouds, steady, predictable, something to be counted on. That I could be safe, that I could keep him safe, if only just for now, in this vast, unpredictable, sometimes unknowable world that we live in.
It occurred to me then, watching the clouds, that if I could be enough for him, that perhaps that meant I was enough for me too. That I wasn’t small at all.