I absolutely adore thunderstorms in the afternoon! If there is nothing on the agenda for the day, I am not opposed to waking up to rough skies and, I can’t help it but, I love a rainy night! Wednesday night’s storm was a whole other creature though…
Man had business in from out of town and so would be home late. I never sleep well with out him. When he is out of town I stay up late watching movies until I can’t stay awake anymore. He’s travelled since we’ve been married (coming on 14 years) and prior to marriage we had a long distance relationship for 6 years. You would think I would be accustomed to sleeping alone but instead it had made me stingy of our time together. We snuggle and sleep in one anothers arms all night. I have often teased him we could right a Kama Sudra of snuggle positions. It’s our favorite part of our days.
I was down right exhausted Wednesday due to Drake’s constant barking to keep foxes away. Though I appreciate his vigilance it has been taking it’s toll on me. He barks in his room to be let out. Then I let him out and he chases the fox away. A few minutes later you can hear the foxes screech/bark to one another that they were close to getting the chickens but now there is a Big Beast out in the yard. Drake confirms this message by adding his bark to the mix. Worried he’ll wake the neighbors I get up and bring him back inside. Then the whole thing continues through the night. I’ve tried leaving him in his room to “cry it out” but then my anxiety for the safety of our chickens keeps me up. All of that to say: My exhaustion was still unable to over take me Wednesday night. I found a chick flick to entertain myself and snuggled into the couch while a storm ascended on the mountain. At 10 I felt certain nothing would keep me up any longer and I went up to bed.
I laid in bed under an open window. A rain perfumed wind blew in and curled up in bed with me. I listened as the rain picked up and thanked God for storms. A storms repertoire delights all the senses; the smell, the sound, the cool it brings… Rain has come on every special day in my life and I’ve always taken it to be a sign of God’s blessing on the occasion. I love to walk in it, run in it, dance in it, kiss in it…
I checked the clock. 10:15. Still, no Man. I began to drift off to sleep on a prayer for his safety as I was certain he was on his way home.
The light that filled the room blinded me through closed eyelids! The walls shook and the rain gushed. I sat up and waited for my kids to run into the room but, amazingly, they slept right through it. More lightning struck and the heavens erupted in applause as each bolt hit it’s target. I prayed a more conscious prayer for Man’s safe return. Now the atmosphere felt electric. The bombing of lightning continued and was now joined by a sniper fire of hail on the windows.
Smack! Pop! Rat-a-tat-tat!
My anxiety mounted with the storm. They escalated together as one beast. The hail, rain and lightning were unyielding. The storm was no longer cozily exciting but was a war on the mountain. I closed my window half way and went to check on the other windows. The hail was relentless and I wanted to be sure nothing broke. In one room rain was making it’s way in and so I shut that window but the rest stayed open as there was no rain coming in there. In the basement I found all secure but could hear Drake barking. I opened the mudroom door and found him standing on the bench near the light switch, which he had turned on. He must’ve been barking the whole time but I couldn’t hear him over the storm. I marveled at that because Drake doesn’t bark so much as booms.
“Come with me Big Beautiful Beast.” Drake didn’t wait for me but dashed up the stairs. Lightning crashed again and I ran after The Beast. By the time I caught up to him he was coming out of the kids room. He had to check on them first. We went to my room and he put one paw up on my bed.
“Sorry Big Guy. That’s Man’s spot. He’ll be home soon…”
Drake obediently laid down on the floor next to the bed. The clock now read 11:00. Things got no better outside and I began to wonder when I would get the call that Man was in the hospital.
I won’t want to wake the kids so I’ll call Caren to see if she will sit with them here. She probably won’t answer her cell phone so then I’ll call her Man’s phone. He’d probably insist that he drive me to the hospital, not wanting me to drive in this weather. Great. I’ll be with Caren’s Man when they tell me we didn’t get there soon enough and that My Man is dead. He will be all uncomfortable and not know what to do with me as I will be a mess. An absolute mess. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll be stunned and we can quietly go home.
I continued to work through the process of what to do if Man were to not make it home. How would I tell the kids? Who would I need to call and in what order? Where would we hold services?
If there was a body, I would bury him in Texas but he will most likely be cremated so I could have the service anywhere. We have so many family and friends in Houston….I’ll have it there.
I thought of who I would ask to speak and considered what I would say myself about the Man who has played the starring role in some of my earliest memories. Knowing him since I was 5…well, I can barely recall life with out him.
“Man’s response to everything is ‘Nice.’ Today he would look at the loved ones who have gathered in his honor and say, ‘Nice.'”
The storm took hold of the eaves of the house and tried to shake out the contents. The hail stopped to reload and then come hammering down again. The lightning strobed blue and blinding lights. I sat up in the middle of my bed, blankets wrapped around me and the tears started to flow.
Jesus, you have to bring him home! Get him home safe! I need him, I need him, I need him.
I felt like a little girl and was embarrassed for my digression. I have been in much worse and longer storms than this. I’ve weathered hurricanes and tornadoes with the excitement of an adventure and no fear of damage or death but let me tell you, you live much closer to the source of lightning when your home is perched near 7500 ft.
Last summer, Lesley was visiting. We sat on my couch by the front window, talking, sipping wine and watching a storm roll in. Lightning hit in my front yard and the force threw us off the couch. We temporarily lost hearing. Talk about close!
Drake raised his head and his ears pinched in alertness. Finally, a warm light floated across my bedroom wall. The storm began a quiet retreat as the sound of crunching gravel calmed my spirit. Then I heard the gate open and close, his steps on the stairs, the key in the door…
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
It was midnight. I thought of jumping out of bed and running into his arms but Drake beat me to it. I waited and continued to listen to him set his keys on the counter, pet The Beast…
“Were you scared buddy?” I heard him whisper. “You gotta be tough. Guard the house.”
…I heard the measure of his stride as he came down the hall. He almost didn’t see me sitting in the middle of the bed. Lightning flickered in the distance and gave light to my presence.
“Baby? What are you doing up?”
“Waiting for you. I can’t sleep with out you and the storm….it was terrible!” We spoke in hushed tones as Man changed out of his work clothes.
“It was pretty bad. There was a huge boulder in the middle of the road. I almost didn’t see it. Everybody was pulled over. The lightning kept blinding me but I just wanted to get home.”
“I’m glad you did. I didn’t know when to expect you!” I scolded. Man sat next to me wrapped me in his arms and kissed my head.
“Sorry…” he said. I kissed him back and then punched him in his chest, arms, and gut.
“I planned your whole funeral!”
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” he laughed with each hit. We embraced again and I thanked God out loud for his safe return.
I curled back under the covers and listened to the happy sounds of Man brushing his teeth and readying himself for bed. I had my back to his side of the bed, still kind of mad at him but also because I like to be the Little Spoon. He scooped up to my curled body and gave me a squeeze.
“How was my funeral?” he whispered.
I smiled to myself in the dark and then whispered back, “Nice.”