For some minutes the thundering and flashes of utterly white light were mixed up with dream and half-wake. There seemed nothing unnatural about stabs of sound and bursts of bright wrapping themselves about me; but eventually they became too loud and too concrete to mesh properly with sleep-fog and I woke. The rain was pounding as I’d only heard once before and, with a mind still dosed heavily with sleep and less inhibited by time and location, I felt myself 12 years back, in Georgia, marveling at rain, with more power than I knew it could have, beating the roof and shaking the house.
As my mind continued the difficult task of shutting dream doors and opening windows for logic to pour in, I realized that Mike wasn’t in bed next to me, and with thoughts like too much chlorine in my eyes; too much chlorine in my brain, I became slowly convinced that he was out in that ferocious storm. He’d woken more quickly. He’d gone to retrieve something from the rain. He’d been hit by lightning. He was out there and nobody knew it! Probably this wasn’t true, but all around my house it did sound like sky ripping in terrible pieces and mountains cracking in two, so I climbed from the covers, wrapped arms tight around me, and went looking for Mike.
He was only in the front room – looking out at the wild night. He said something about the storm. I leaned into him and agreed. He had been out in it (“before it got bad”, he claimed). He’d brought in garden gloves and trowels, tools from the bed of the truck, and the bale of wood shavings that Goldie had been using as an arrow target. For a bit longer we looked out our windows -- me shutting my eyes at the parts so white they felt like mind and vision being wiped clear. We wondered if the card table was left outside somewhere. And I wondered over babies and toddlers asleep through the cracking and cleaving and renting. Then I wandered back to bed while Mike still considered the storm and possible things left out in it.
I slid back onto my mattress and pulled blankets up high (though it wasn’t cold). The rain still beat thousands of angry fists just a ceiling above me and thunder seemed concentrated with rage around only my house; and, quite suddenly I felt impossibly insignificant. How was I existing at all as small and helpless as I was, and how could this house . . . how could I provide any reliable shelter for anyone? I sank and sank for a moment and then, remembering and hoping, grabbed ahold of prayer – a bobbing little life-preserver. I wrapped my arms around it tightly, shut my eyes and prayed and prayed. I drifted to sleep going over waves and waves, tightening my grip each time I found it had slipped; ‘til at last . . . it was new day. I was awake again. And everything was calm and sure and safe.