Saturday, June 18, 2016

Peace and a Storm

It's easy to fall into despair as an American in 2016. Not because we aren't rich and powerful enough, not because we lack for anything, but because of the hash that those who presume to lead us are making of our country. The amoral, self-promoting narcissists at the top of the major party tickets remind me of what it must have been like in the waning days of the Roman Empire. Frankly, it's a national disgrace. Then, a storm rolls through and my despair is swept away with it.

All day Thursday the radio, television, Twitter, Facebook and my cell phone kept warning me that powerful storms would be passing through Short Pump beginning around 9:00 pm. There would be high winds, perhaps a tornado. Precautions should be taken. For me that meant securing my deck furniture and the administration of doggy Lorazepam to Lucy. For the longest time, nothing happened. But I could see the swirling green and red colors of the creeping storm on my weather app radar. It was close. I walked out onto my deck and gazed into the western sky.

It has always been this way with me and storms. Thunder and lightning have always drawn me like moth to flame. When I was a kid, I would stand at the screen door of the back porch when the thunderstorms came until I was damp from the rain, each flash of lightning filling me with both fear and delight. When my kids were little, I would take them out on our front porch and watch the storms roll through, holding them close and marveling at the raw power around us.

Thursday night, as I stared westward, waiting, I thought of our presidential candidates, with their monumental egos, Trump with his semi-literate rants about "winning" and Hillary with her smug, confidence, convinced that she's going to get away with it. That despite her habitual corruption, she will probably become the first female president, all her Rasputian scheming finally about to pay off. Then I hear the rumble.

A sound not unlike the sound that a Mack truck would make if it overturned it's load of gravel on a tin roof, violent and rushing. Heat flashes, still miles away, lit up the western horizon. The canopy of trees that line the fence at the back of my yard suddenly were parted by the wind, the limbs of the stately pines and mighty pin oaks thrashing about like Kansas wheat. The cold wind slapped my face, staggering me a bit. I felt the first drops of rain. Then a streak of lightning, closer now. Leaves began to swirl around me, small sticks ripped from the trees began dropping on the deck. My heart was pounding, but I couldn't look away. Directly above me I saw the front edge of the storm creeping across the heavens, a surging gray line like spilled paint, thick and milky. Then the first peal of thunder. Too close now. I must go inside, Lucy will surely be a mess by now...but I stay and watch until the rain comes harder. Oddly, it calms me, this storm. I watch how quickly my peaceful sky has been transformed into a maelstrom and I am assured in my heart that we control...nothing. There is a God in heaven and he will not forever abide our foolishness and vanity. This realization should be sobering. Instead, I am reassured. Strange.

This morning I will clean up from the damage, lots of limbs and debris everywhere. I will enjoy it. Things seem better.