by Robin Jeffrey
When I was six years old, I danced, and the rain came.
In an attempt to busy my rambunctious six-year-old self over a summer, my mother encouraged me to plant sunflower seeds at the side of our house. Now, the truth is that I had planted no more than four or five sunflowers and that they grew no more than four or five feet tall. But to young me they were a forest that touched the heavens with stiff yellow fingers and black freckled faces.
I never wanted them to stop growing.
We lived in Wyoming then, where the summers were dry and cruel. My sunflower forest began to wilt. Heartbroken, I sat at dinner, moping into my creamed corn, my older sister kicking my feet under the table, when my father said there was a chance of a storm that night.
My blood thrummed in my ears. Rain was what my forest needed to survive. Water from my bathroom sink would never do it; it had to be rain.
I had seen the Native American tribes at Frontier Days, our summer festival, perform rain dances before. Hurrying back to my bedroom, I collected the crow feather I’d found at the park, the palm-sized dream catcher I’d gotten at the fair, and careful to remain unobserved, snuck into my sister’s bedroom and absconded with her rain stick.
Out into the fading light I crept, dreamcatcher hanging from my wrist, feather in one hand and rain stick in the other. Standing before my sunflower forest, the setting sun painting the sky red and orange behind the blooms, I started to dance. My sister’s rain stick kept the time, drowned out now and again by my ecstatic chanting. I lifted my hands to the sky, calling to the 2 black clouds on the horizon to join me in my dance. I sprung, I leapt, I sang, for what felt like hours.
I danced for rain. And with a peal of thunder that deafened me, the rain came, covering me in tiny kisses as I laughed and clapped and celebrated my mastery over the elements.
Magic is easy to do when you’re a child. It gets harder as you grow, until even the simplest of spells, like making rain, are beyond your reach.
I know that the gangly six-year-old with a moldy feather and cheap rain stick chanting gibberish didn’t manipulate the atmosphere and create rain. But deep down in my soul, when I think back to that evening, a little flame sparks in my belly and a voice only I can hear whispers:
Yes, you did. You did. You danced, and the rain came
About the Author
Robin was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds. Both have served her well as she pursues a career in writing. Her flash fiction piece “Season of the Dead” won second place in The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Phenom Contest and her creative nonfiction piece “Band of Red” won the Silver Needle Press' Nonfiction Contest. Other works of hers have been published in Sky Island Journal, Cagibi, The Esthetic Apostle, and The Mary Sue. She currently reside in Bremerton, Washington.
From the Editor
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