Friday, August 22, 2008
Growing up in central Florida, I saw a lot of storms. Often they were accompanied by thunder so loud it shook the ground and made my teeth chatter. I can remember many times getting caught in a down pour on my way home from school, rain pelting the top of my head so hard that it felt like pebbles being thrown down from heaven. Within seconds, I'd be soaked to the skin, with my hair flattened and plastered to my face.
Lightening was the worst of all. I could always smell the electricity on the wind. From the safety of our living room, I imagined what would happen if I stepped outside into the crackly air. Surely my hair would stand on end and then SMACK! I'd become a human torch. Of course, my mother was comforted in knowing that I had a healthy fear of such things. It meant I would, most likely, stay out of harms way.
What she couldn't prepare me for was the other storms. The ones life dished out in abundance. She was too busy weathering her own.
Still, storms have become something more than just thunder, lightening and rain. Faye, and all the storms yet to come have reminded me of that. They are a glimpse into the past.
Like the day when the sun was shining and rain appeared from nowhere. My brother and I danced in our bathing suits, shampooing our hair in the warm stream of rain pouring off the roof. My grandmother laughed, handing each of us a bar of soap and instructing us to use it.
I remember putt-putt golfing in the rain with my grandfather, refusing to give up our game because of a little sprinkle, (even though we got soaked to our underwear.)I giggled as my sneakers went slosh, slosh, slosh, from green to squishy green.
I think of sitting in the bleachers with my friends, watching the high school band slide around on a soaked field. We laughed because the opened school books on our heads were getting drenched, along with our cloths...and there was nothing our mothers could do about it!
My favorite storm related memory was more than a decade ago. All the women in our family had gathered at our house for what turned out to be their last time together. The rain blew up unexpectedly and the winds howled. When the lights went out, everyone (me, my mother, grandmother, aunt, great-aunt, etc.)gathered together on our big round sectional couch. We lit candles and snuggled under blankets, munching on snacks and taking turns telling stories and re-living fond memories. It was magical for me. The smiling faces of that evening will be forever etched in my memory, until I see them again.
I've been through many storms, some worse than others. Each of them usually brought me closer to someone. Today, the storm raging outside reminds me of what and who is most important in my life.
When I think about it, that's what all storms do, even those other kinds.