June 15, 2009

The Train

“Good morning.”

“Well, it’s morning.”

“I’m trying to be optimistic.”

“Never was an optimist. Always figured the light at the end of the tunnel was the train.”

“Least knowing that’s enough to keep you out of the tunnel.” Or for most people it would have been.

Something drives me out into the storm. Always has. Probably always will. I never get tired of it. I never get tired of writing about it. Tonight was no different. An hour after the sun went down, the storm crept in. I could hear it coming. Not the thunder, but the wind, and not so much the wind, but the trees. They whisper. And when the first flash of light slipped through my curtains, I slipped through the door and out into the night.

I was going to stand on the balcony and watch, as I’ve done before, but the storm was coming in from the southwest. So I walked down the stairs and around the corner of the building, then down the alley to the walk, then west along the walk to the street, and across the street and on until I stood on the south steps of the capitol, facing the wide, open boulevard of Fifteenth. It was raining. I could feel it on my cheek and see it in the beams of the spotlights shining up onto the stone tower, but I waited. The storm had not yet come.

I waited through the first spray of fat drops onto the limestone, like the temporary wash of a sprinkler. I waited until the spray became a torrent, running down my glasses and washing my vision, turning the world to Monet's night time dream. I tucked my glasses into my hand and ran for home, praying I’d make it before it decided to hail. That would be painful. I made it to the front door, then dashed around to the back, but didn’t go in. Lightning flashed, the kind that is right on top of you, lighting up your bones, washing the world in white. It doesn’t make the night into day. It makes the world into nothing, so bright it cannot be seen and all that fills your mind is the light and then the thunder that crashes after in the darkness before vision returns.

Have you ever stood in the storm? For no good reason let the rain wash down your face and soak your clothes, making your jeans and denim jacket cling to your skin, and soaking your underwear, filling up your shoes. And you wish only to be barefoot because anything is better than squelching shoes. And you watch the rain under the streetlights coming down in sheets and feel the wind from the east, pushing at your back, while the storm roles in from the west, rising before you. And the wind picks up and you start to get cold and for a moment you think you hear the train behind you and you turn to see, but only find more rain.

And you smile and think “Good morning.”

1 comment:

wolfie185 said...

I am with you on this one. I enjoy storms, watching them, feeling them, smelling them. We were on the Niobrara Saturday, about 45 minutes from our landing spot when the clouds moved in, which made us cold since we where all soaked from various trips into the river for fun and to push the tubes along or redirect them, I wasn't concerned about the thunder and lighting that was building up, I find it deeply spiritual and as far as I know lighting never hits rivers. Can't say I was in all that cheerful because I was starting to freeze but I did have a lot more acceptance than my cohorts.
Last night I walked down the block to watch the storms, they were all north and south of Kearney, so I know what you are saying.
I am still enjoying your post even though I haven't left many comments lately, I have a lot going on right now at work, at home and in recovery.

Take Care