Monday, July 24, 2017

Tuesday Night

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.

Photo Jul 14, 7 44 46 AM

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.

Photo Jul 14, 7 46 06 AM

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.

Photo Jul 17, 7 23 32 AM

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.

Photo Jul 10, 8 36 00 PMPhoto Jul 20, 5 50 32 AMPhoto Jul 05, 12 22 19 PMPhoto Jun 28, 2 54 01 AMPhoto Jun 29, 10 30 53 AM


Marilyn said...

One of my dad's favorite sayings was "Can you sleep when the wind blows?" (Which I guess Mike—can't. Hahaha.) Dad always wanted to be able to answer yes to that question—to know his house was all in order, everything tied down, protected from the rain, in its proper place. And he did, at the end. I remember him saying to my mom through the fog from his hospital bed, "I think everything is ready. I left it all in order for you" and her saying, "Yes, yes, Mark, everything is in order. I am taken care of. I'm okay. You can go."

I hope for that blessing, when the time comes. But for now…like you…I wake at night uneasy, wondering what I've forgotten…knowing how much I have left to do.

Nancy said...

And from a strictly literal perspective I usually do sleep when the wind blows :). We lived in the mouth of the canyon growing up and I remember only a small handful of nights when the wind wasn't blowing and blowing. And even rain and storms usually make sleep feel extra cozy (this particular storm just sounded like the destruction at Christ's death among the Nephites!) so I was a bit surprised when we got married to discover that Mike wasn't soothed or happy in the night with wind and rain outside. It meant maybe our horse's hay gettung ruined or shingles blowing off roofs, etc.

But the metaphor! For both of us! No sleeping when the wind is blowing. If Mike was to die it would be an utter disaster! I love that moment with your dad at the end. So comforting -- for him and everyone. And I couldn't help but feel a panic and also a hope that it will be like that when either Mike or I go. That it won't be too soon and feel like . . . tarps blowing off all the hay.

Marilyn said...

Yeah, there are so many ways I just would NOT be ready. I remember my dad had left things like, a sign on the furnace saying how to relight the pilot light...stuff like that. And every once in awhile Sam will be doing something (as simple as...resetting the sprinkler cycles or something) and I'll think, "I have no idea how to do that. What will I ever do if I have to manage life alone??" I know I could be so much more prepared but then also...I don't WANT to be prepared for that. Or sometimes I'll think, "I need to go through all my recipes and write in the directions I never think to write, but Sam would need to know if he was doing this without me." Sigh. So yes. I hope when the time comes, it can be peaceful and not panicked.

And as for your literal storm. It sounds cool. And scary. Strange how that can be going on by you and never even touch me, only 50 miles (or whatever it is) away!

Nancy said...

I know exactly. And I will think how often I need to find out about this or that important matter that I simply leave to him, but . . . life is just so busy that I keep just leaving certain things to him. It makes life much easier for now but would make it truly nearly impossible if something unexpected happened!

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