“Unraveling” by Katie Williams

Photo by Branimir Balogoviu0107 on Pexels.com

The wind sweeps cold over barren fields, tugging loose the rotting chaff that litters the gravel lane. My shoes squelch through mud as I pick my way along the path, the chill soaking into my socks and seeping under the edge of my soul.
Overhead, the sun gleams, defiant—or perhaps ignorant—of the clouds churning on the horizon.

A storm is coming.

The app proclaimed it loud—wind, thunder, rain, sleet, freezing, caution, danger! Beware the roads. Secure loose objects. Stay inside.
Instead, I slipped on shoes and fled toward the sun. I stuffed the phone in my back pocket as if I could prevent the storm’s coming by shutting down a screen.

Now my feet move sluggish, slipping on corn husks, and my thoughts scrape low over furrows of ache. Somewhere in the jumble of fractures and ferment, a prayer is starting to form, but I cannot yet feel its edges.
Above me, a single raven wheels and cries. Power lines thrum, and a red light flickers from the nearby cell tower, every blink a silent alarm: The. Storm. Is. Coming.
Still I slough on, until I come at last to the juncture, an intersection of three fields joined by a forlorn shed and a few bony ribbons of barbed wire.
Here, where patches of gutted earth meet, I stand exposed, a snarled thread poking through the seam of the world.

The wind rushes to tug me free, but I resist. Hands clench inside pockets, and I blink my defiance slow, deliberate—
I will not be moved.

Across the way, where the forest used to be, towering houses wink at me from third-story windows.
Look at us, they beckon from balconies, waving their wrap-around porches. Isn’t this what you want?

I shake my head, recalling trees and deer and salmon-sky sunsets. But still the sirens call. I look long upon their sterile stucco opulence, and something in all that right-angle stability seduces me.
Ashamed, I bow my head.
Yes. Yes, of course that’s what I want.
Straight lines. Easy answers. Clear paths to comfort, security, control.
Isn’t that what I’ve always wanted? Isn’t that what everyone wants? (The phone pings in my back pocket. The cell tower flashes red, red.)

Then, fierce as fire, the wind whips wild around me, flinging hair in all directions. I splutter as strands snag over teeth. One hand slips free of its pocket to detangle the wisps, and a fresh chill nips at my fingertips.
Resentment flares hot.
The prayer is almost formed now, swelling and pressing at the borders, yet still I cannot shape the words, cannot discern their form, cannot order them—

The wind tugs again, sharper this time, and the words tumble free:
God, why does this have to be so hard?

At first, there is only silence.

I shiver.

Then comes a roar of wind, a tsunami-wall of earth-breath, sounding, surrounding, sundering
I fight it
lean into it, press against it, brace-armed, blustering—
and I recall reading it once, about trees, how they need the wind to grow roots—
and I wish I had roots now, wish I could reach down and clutch deep, deep into the earth, reach down to stand firm—
how I wish I could stand—
oh God, I can’t stand it!

The wind recedes with an oceanic shhhhhh.

I pitch forward, stunned. Hands slide free of pockets.
I flail.


I shiver.

Then inhale
and winter’s breath carves fresh space within me.

The mint-sweet scrape of the air sets my lungs afire.
My face flushes with grace, every hollow breathed whole.

And I know it with sudden certainty, that I want the woods and the wild and the star-dappled sky—
want the One whose song speaks them all into life.

I press a trembling hand to my chest, and I feel it there, behind the rapid pulse of my heart—
the prayer I couldn’t form.
The one too deep for words, too broken for all save Spirit, breathing bright down there in the dark where mustard seed roots take hold.

My phone rumbles another warning. The clouds are gathering. The sky is thickening gray.
The storm is still coming.

But as I turn for home, the wind rises at my back. It billows my jacket like sails, and I lift my arms and laugh myself light. My weight disappears, for here I am carried—here in the stark, wind-shorn spaces where loose threads are pulled through into Love.

Katie S. Williams

Katie S. Williams is a fantasy author and editor who loves bold coffee, epic battles, and ordinary miracles. When she isn’t wrangling words or shepherding stories, you might find her crafting bookish latte art, engaging in deep conversations about creativity and faith, or adventuring in nature with her camera by her side. Connect with her on Instagram at @katie.s.williams

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