Friday, July 25, 2014

Thunder and Lightning and Wind, Oh My!

Kneeling with my face against the screen of the open bedroom window, I strained my eyes, seeking a better perspective on the night sky. The locust tree in our front yard partially obscured my view of the strobe-like lightning storm that thundered on the eastern horizon. To steal a phrase, "I knelt all amazed." Or is it, "I stand all amazed?" Whatever the case, I was locked in place, absorbing the beauty of the ultra-electric light show. The sky-scape was pitch black until, "lightning flashed and thunder rolled". Each bolt briefly illuminated the sky, exposing boiling cloud formations that looked something like layers of huge, dark, oversized bath bubbles which appeared and faded in quick succession. I estimated there were 15 to 20 strikes a minute.
Thunder and Lightning Yei
A warm and ragged wind swept in ahead of the storm, and the night smelled of rain. The prospect of a downpour thrilled me. I knew from past experience, however, the chances of receiving moisture were not good. In this area rainstorms are rare, but that does not stop Mother Nature from teasing us with grandstanding parades of unproductive pageantry. As I watched, slowly moving cars passed by on Main Street. It looked as if their occupants were watching the natural fireworks exploding above our heads and anticipating the much needed waterworks. They too were wishing on falling fire-bolts. Just then Laurie walked into the room, and seeing me kneeling, asked with a trace of sarcasm, "What are you doing down there?" Ramping-up the rhetoric, I replied, "Praying to the Gods of thunder and lightning." Laurie, who often worries over my theological theories, contemplated me patiently. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she said, "Well, that's a start!"

Soon thereafter Laurie crashed for the duration of the evening. Each day my overly energetic wife rises at the crack-of-dawn, does yard and garden work until 7:00 a.m., takes a little time to prepare for her regular job, works at the local community college from 8:00 to 5:00, returns home to toil in the yard until 10:00 p.m. and then goes down like a felled tree. When the dust settles, she is out until 5:00 a.m. If that woman does not have her hands in the dirt and her feet in the foliage at least eight hours a day she is not happy. It makes me tired just watching her. Anyway, lying there in bed, unable to sleep, I observed the pictures on the wall flickering in and out of focus with each flash, felt the thunder reverberate through my bones and thought about all things spiritual and temporal, contemplating the forces of nature and how they work in such wondrous ways.

Sometime around midnight I fell asleep to the sound of the white-fire storm. I dreamed how the Navajo once worshiped thunder, lightning, rain and wind. The people believed that all aspects of their lives were driven by the will and mood of the Sun and the Moon, by Mother Earth and by many other forces of nature. Through the natural world the Navajo discovered a way to explain the unexplainable. A multitude of Gods were born, each with a balance of positive and negative energy brought to bear on mankind. Mother Earth is the only deity made-up of totally positive energy; she absorbs all negativity and gives it back in a decisively affirmative manner. She is the consummate nurturer. Since I first discovered it as a young man, I have enjoyed and appreciated the legends of these high-desert dwellers. The stories are interesting and exciting, and . . . well, who knows for sure what is real and what is not.

It must have been almost 4:00 a.m. when I heard rain begin to fall. I got-up and looked out the window, hoping for a deluge: a male rain to the Navajo. What I saw was but a brief spattering of drops, not even a gently nourishing female rain. "Big Deal!” I said out loud, speaking to the Gods of thunder and lightning. A far away rumble answered my derogatory remark. Laurie turned over and murmured something unintelligible. My personal incarnation of "Mother Nature" began to stir and I knew very soon the work and the glory would begin anew.

With warm regards Barry Simpson and the team;
Steve, Priscilla, and Danny.

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