Bad storms come—in weather and in life. But they never last forever.
I took a break from the computer and was about to open the door to walk up the long driveway to the mailbox when I heard it—the ominous rumble of thunder and its warning of a storm moving in. I’d been so immersed in my work, I hadn’t noticed the storm clouds gathering and blotting out the sun. Above me, they roiled, dark and menacing.
Have I got time to get to the mailbox and back before all hell breaks loose?
I took off down the drive towards the barn, feeling the rush of adrenaline that comes when I’m a little scared, enjoying the wind picking up around me. Growing up on a farm, I always found storms a bit thrilling, especially from the safety of a screen porch. I could almost hear my grandmother’s comforting voice saying, “That big noise is just the thunder baby crying.”
As the storm bore down, I became acutely aware of everything around me as I snatched the mail out of the box. The sound of the wind in the pine trees had gone from soothing to threatening as I hurried back towards the house. The tree branches swayed wildly, and leaves began swirling around me. My neighbor’s rooster crowed in the middle of the day. Birds suddenly seemed to be flying towards trees and shrubs, undoubtedly seeking shelter and reminding me I should do the same.
The earthy scent of summer rain filled the air even before I could feel it. My quick pace turned into a jog as the drops began to fall. A crack of thunder sounded close as I stepped into the safety of my kitchen. Then the deluge began, quickly overflowing our gutters and creating waterfalls down to the patio.
The older I get, the more I find Nature’s gifts—be they peaceful or unsettling—connect me with the past and, often, with feelings deep inside. The storm’s display of power reminds me I’m not the center of the universe, and suddenly my worries and anxieties seem less important.
The natural world is a treasure trove of lessons and metaphors for life. Storms blow in and disrupt our happiness, but the sun always comes out after the storm passes through, ready to dry our tears and warm the chill in our souls.
I want to remember this the next time I feel a storm comin’ in.
Does the sound of thunder or the change in the air of an oncoming storm bring back childhood memories or unique emotions for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
[Excerpts from this post were read at a public reading sponsored by VECCA on September 5, 2019, at the 7 Bends Gallery in Woodstock, VA.]