I just walked back from the station, taking a student there because he could not find his twin sister when it was time to go home and stayed behind, waiting for her. It was a proper hot day, reaching 30 degrees and there is a thunderstorm raging on the mountains, just beyond the station. All the way home, the edge of the storm trailed just behind me while before me there was nothing but blue sky. (My life analogized by the weather, me just a few steps before the clouds. Or is that too much?) Sunshine and thunder. Now it is summer. Had I my phone with me I would have recorded the sound but by the time I leave it will be too late.

Sounds, sounds other than the constant pulse filling my left ear. When the doctor said I was partially deaf in that ear, that I might have a brain tumor, everything seemed so tragic. But like all tragic things, the more you sit with it, the more mundane it becomes. And yet the one gift disturbing news like that brings is the chance to break free from a humdrum approach to living. To listen to sounds, to look at everything you pass, to be alive rather than just living. To be, to be, to be. With intent rather than passivity.

It is a full moon and I am my other self right now. Or rather the other side of the same self. I used to feel possessed, as if taken over by a new person every month, a cat scared of my reflection in the mirror. Learning to accept the waxing and waning nature of my self has been a long road and I still have miles to go.

It was such a relief to hear the cicadas finally. It had been too dry and cool for them to escape but now their chants fill the air. Strange to be worried about a generation of insects, in the face of everything else we should collectively be worried about. Children are still being separated from their parents in my home country, whales are still washing ashore again and again with bellies full of plastic, people are still starving to death in Yemen, people are still fearing for their lives in El Salvador. And here I am worried about the cicadas. But it is all part of a bigger picture and even minor details deserve our attention.

I am working on this month’s story this morning, a story that I started working on a long time ago. It involves a Japanese animal known for shape-shifting and a teenaged girl. I have been afraid of writing the story, worried about cultural appropriation, worried about writing something disturbing and funny at the same time, worried about being so worried about everything. It is a funny story though so I will lean into that and try to ignore all the fiddly concerns that have plagued my writing for so long. I have let them run wild instead of trying to contain them, subdue them with silence and inattention.

I did, by the way, get out of work in time to record the thunder but the sound was really off because I was torn between wanting to record the thunder and not wanting to be hit by the lightning. You can listen to it and all the other audio clips I collect over in my sound library.