01 April 2008

Within, Without

Last night, the mild temperatures in the 50-degree (13/14C) range belied a coming storm. After dark, the wind kicked up, and later still, rain came pouring down. I think (maybe, possibly, perhaps) that we might be done with the bitterly cold blizzard weather for the season. The tulips I planted several years ago are sprouting, daffodils are a few inches tall, and the pollen count is up, because I'm sneezing rather more than usual.

One of my neighbors (and I don't even know which one) has a set of wind chimes that I only hear during high winds. The apple falls not far from the tree; at my parent's house on the lake, the wind chimes that were on the porch when they moved in have been permanently silenced. I've been given gifts of wind chimes over the years, that are beautiful, but will never hang up outside because the noise would drive me crazy. Deep, bell-like chimes, or high-pitched tinkles, matters not, I can't stand the noise.

My neighbor's chimes are delicate, twinkling chimes, which make me think of fairies and the wee folk whenever I hear them. I could hear them only in certain parts of the house, which ought to clue me in as to who they belong to, but that doesn't matter much. Because I only hear them during stormy weather, and not when I'm trying to sleep, I don't care where they are.

If you'll allow me to be whimsical for a moment, go ahead and continue reading the post. Otherwise, skip it and read something else.

I've never been afraid of weather. Thunderstorms don't scare me. Living as I do in the MidWest, tornadoes are a reality, rather than special effects on a movie screen. They bring devastation, destruction of property, death. But somehow, there's a fierce, feral beauty to them, when for just a moment, you witness one of Mother Nature's raw creations.

The prelude to a thunderstorm brings darkening of skies, and an increase in the wind. Birds quiet down, seek shelter, and insects fall silent. That relative calm before the storm has always called to me, pulled me to wander outside, and witness the birth of a storm.

Before I left home and got married, my parents lived across the street from a large forest preserve, and a coming storm in the twilight might find me on a path listening to the wind in the trees. The air seems cleaner. The night holds a potential, possibilities. A mild shower, or a wild, howling terror, either is possible in that moment.

I wanted to wander outside last night, allow the wind to pull at my clothes and short hair, smell the dampness of the earth, the spring smell of earthworms all squiggly (and icky) on the sidewalks, listen to the wind, even get rained on a bit. Instead, I stayed inside and listened to the wind around the roof of the house, eventually heading to bed where I couldn't hear the chimes anymore.

Where has that child-like wonder and delight in a rainstorm gone? My delight in a solitary walk diminished, when, exactly?


sarah bean said...

LOVE it when the daffodils (and tulips!? cool!) start poking through :D Outdoors in a storm is the best place to be, for sure, although I only ever do that when my kids are up and bringing back the kid in me, otherwise I'm all about the lying in bed listening to the wind and rain too, these days.

Lucy Arin said...

Hi SB!
Once the tulips bloom, I will take pics of them; the tulips and daffodils are just about the only thing I can keep alive, because you don't have to do anything to them. Plant them in the fall, and watch them bloom in the spring. I can handle plants like that.