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March 06, 2002: Random Acts: Embrace

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Random Acts of Journaling - March:

"I understand lightning. I am not afraid of the rumble, gentle as an empty stomach but powerful enough to shake the ground beneath my feet. I'm not afraid when the sky opens up and blinds my eyes with rain. And when its cold fingers reach down, looking for someone to touch, I barely shudder anymore. I have an agreement with the sky. An understanding." (T. Greenwood, Nearer than Sky, p. 1)

I am not afraid of storms. I am not afraid of the rain and the thunder and the lightning. I love the sounds of winter - the percussion of a storm on roof and windows, the delicate music of a gentle spring rain. Thunder startles me, but does not frighten me. I hear the deep rumbles in the sky and peer out the windows to see if I might catch a glimpse of what the sound heralds. The appearance of storm clouds in the sky does not fill me with any foreboding; they merely provide a unique texture to the landscape of the world up in the sky - the world created of cloud mountains and sunset-filled clear spaces that reflect like a body of water, calm as the evening.

I watch for lightning in the skies when storms come. Usually they are simply flashes of light, as if someone has tugged at the curtains to let the sun into a darkened room, before pulling them just as quickly and abruptly back into place, but once, just once, I saw lightning the way it is always portrayed in films; the jagged streak across the sky. I was in college, and a small handful of us came outside, drawn by the magnificent display. We stood in the rain, uncaring that we were getting soaked, arms wrapped tightly around our own chests in an effort to stay warm, watching the storm. Instantaneously, we all as one reverted to childhood, laughing aloud with delight at the sight above us. We craned our necks back, calling over the noise of wind and rain to each other. Did you see that one? Look, there's another! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

I'm not sure when I stopped letting myself take part in storms as I once did when I was younger. I'm not sure when I stopped taking the time to go outside and stomp in puddles, with or without a raincoat, with or without the hood pulled over my head as if somehow that could keep me from becoming drenched as I tilted my head back with eyes closed to feel the water pour down on my face. I do not know when I last stopped what I was doing to go outside and watch the lightning in the sky. There have been too many obligations; too many reasons why I could not get so wet - reasons why it is not considered acceptable for adults to come in dripping wet and laughing like small children.

I am not afraid of storms. They bring a smell to the air when they are done that cannot be replicated - a smell of new earth and growing things, of calm serenity and crystal clarity. One can only be afraid of storms if one does not let oneself become part of them, embracing the sound and the flashes and the bluster. When I stand outside in the wind and rain, arms outstretched and head back, there is no fear. I am flying. I am completely free.

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