Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A Thunderstorm
by Emily Dickinson

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, -
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.

The other day we had an afternoon thunderstorm. Thunderstorm is an understatement. It was severe storming, with hail, lots of thunder and lightning, and flooding. While this was going on, I was safe in my home and I started thinking about thunderstorms and how although they can be very awe inspiring, they can also be very destructive.

I know many people who love thunderstorms. They love to watch them blow up in the summertime or come in from sea. And while the best places to experience this is somewhere flat, like the mid-west or the coast, not necessarily Western Pennsylvania, I still know many people who just love storms. And I have to admit I am one of them, at least I used to be, now as I think about it, I'm not too sure if I still am.

If you have nothing to lose in a storm or the chances of the storm causing you some lingering pain and suffering are very slim, then it is easy to just enjoy these demonstrations of Mother Nature's awesome power. But if that 20 minute storm has the potential to change your life, and not for the better, you have a different attitude towards it. Just ask any one of the thousands of Iowans affected by the recent floods; or someone whose house caught on fire after being hit with lightning; or someone who had a tree fall on their car.

As this storm started pounding the house with rain, I worried: is the roof going to leak, will we lose power and the basement fill up with water because the sump pump can't run, or will a tree fall over and cause untold damage. This picture shows one of our Willow trees after a brief summer storm three years ago. And this wasn't the only damage.

I guess I wish I could still enjoy thunderstorms like I used to, but life's funny ways have stolen that from me. Even if I am traveling away from home I doubt I can enjoy them as I used to. No matter where you are, it's someones home.


Alyson said...

I must say I am a fan of thunderstorms. This is even after I had one of the most terrifying experiences last weekend during one. I was stuck in my car, while out doing errands, while the biggest storm raged around me. The rain was coming like waves at my car and had me feeling like at any moment it could overturn us. As the rain was wiping at me, lightening struck all so close that I jumped with surprise each time. I was so scared that I cried.

However, I think anything that has that much power and strength is also beautiful, even though it can destroy.

By the way, I only live about 45 minutes or so from Emily Dickenson's house. I keep meaning to visit it, but with 4 kids I dont' find much time.

tranquil solitude said...

Alyson - Yes, despite the destruction one truly has to appreciate and respect and recognize the beauty of the awesome power that is nature and weather.