A Suburban Storm

August 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Nature Space

Suddenly realising that my eyes are straining to read the words on the page, I look up from my novel to discover that the room has grown dark.  The sunbeams threading their way through the blinds only moments ago have melted away, taking their dancing gilt motes with them.  The atmosphere has gone through a subtle alteration – the air feels charged somehow and my skin prickles in response.

I walk towards the window to see if I can attribute this change to some outside force, and I am transfixed by a cloud that spans the immediate horizon, blocking out the sun with ominous dark presence.  The last remnants of day are excluded by the blanket of black and I wait for the inevitable.

The rain begins.  The kind of rain that always makes you think that you’ve never seen rain like it before.  Rain, astonishing in its intensity, in its ferocious pounding of the earth, in its fast accumulation in rapidly expanding puddles.  Rain.

Hello Sunshin by Amy Palko on Flickr

I feel intimidated yet fascinated by this demonstration of nature –  it is awe-inspiring.  I feel a sudden compulsion to dash out of the front door and dance on the sodden grass, mud besplattered with my hands raised to the sky.  The downpour running through my hair, drenching every strand, every cell, every fibre of my being, while I laugh and leap and whirl around madly.

But you don’t do that kind of thing in the suburbs.  I stare through the window at the droplet speckled glass, my gaze following the tiny rivulets that flow down the smooth surface.  Adjusting my focus, I look at the windows across the street and notice other figures staring back, staring at the storm, staring at the rain, staring at nature’s intrusion on the calm regulated order of daily ritual.

I begin to wonder if these figures have the same compulsion as me.  To throw caution to the tempest and surrender to the storm.  To feel the cold droplets trace the edges of our flesh.  To inhale that special rain scent as it hits the tarmac, the lawn, the soil.  To abandon that stifling feeling of strict conformity that binds our behaviour to the norm, the acceptable, the expected.  Or is it just me….

I open the window wide and stretch out my hand.  Quickly my arm is covered in a thin film of moisture, glistening in a stray ray of sun that has escaped the heavy sky.  Raising my eyes to the heavens, I see the cessation of the storm.  The brightening of sky, the dissolution of cloud, the clearing of air and the end of the rain.

A missed opportunity.  My heart sinks.  Why didn’t I leave the safe, dry space of the home for the vibrant fertility of the summer squall?  Why didn’t I cast off the shackles of conformity for nature’s sweet embrace?  Why didn’t I risk ridicule to feel my body rocked by the awesome strength of the storm?

Next time, I promise myself.  Next time…

Comments

16 Responses to “A Suburban Storm”
  1. Marjorie says:

    ‘Cause it takes me an hour to wash and blow dry my hair? ;)

    Still, better than reflecting on missed opportunities, thanks for that Amy :)

  2. Roland Hesz says:

    “But you don’t do that kind of thing in the suburbs. ”

    Sadly. It tells a lot about how advanced we became, doesn’t it?

  3. “To abandon that stifling feeling of strict conformity that binds our behaviour to the norm, the acceptable, the expected.”

    To strike out and be different, to embrace individuality, to dare to question, to laugh uproariously, to be wantonly curious, to be open to magical spontaneity. What heavenly joy there is when you have freedom of expression.

    My daughter won’t come to the cinema with me any longer because I either laugh or cry and she gets embarrassed. The removal of emotional outlet I feel is another part of conformity.

  4. Joanna Young says:

    Time for you to get out of the suburbs methinks :-)

  5. janice says:

    Beautiful writing, as always Amy! My favourite line was “The sunbeams threading their way through the blinds only moments ago have melted away, taking their dancing gilt motes with them.”

    I’d be scared to rain dance in thunder and lightning, but my son couldn’t resist showering in a gutter overflow during a storm once(oh what the young get away with, suburbs or not!) and I was so jealous I went out into the back garden and did exactly what you longed to do. (It’s over at the blog, a piece called ‘When the heavens Open’)

    I’m begging you – do it next time! Better still, invite me over for a coffee or let’s meet at Joanne’s and we’ll skip around in a ring getting soaked and really shock the neighbours. I bet if you did it, you’d be joined by jealous folk in two minutes!

  6. amypalko says:

    Marjorie – You could just pull it back into a ponytail, which is what I do! ;-)

    Roland – advanced seems to mean the same as distanced from nature, doesn’t it? Don’t quite understand why that should be…

    Jackie – I’ll go to the cinema with you! I go through all the emotions in a movie – one minute I’ll be laughing my head off and in the next I’ll be loudly sobbing. Waterproof mascara is a must!

    Joanna – I think that time was a while ago and since then I’ve just been treading water.

    Janice – Ok – it’s a promise! :-)

    Amy
    xx

  7. janice says:

    I look forward to it! We can also chat about how we’re going to get ourselves out of the suburbs some day… ;)

  8. Bo Mackison says:

    Do you really mean this, do you intend to keep this thought with you? And the next time you get a gully washer, you’re going to let loose and dance in the rain?

    It is nice. I wouldn’t ridicule you, I’d join you. Or perhaps you’d join me. I have a rather long history as a dancer-in-the-rain.

  9. karen says:

    Amy, thank you again for such beautiful words… so full of meaning for us.

    You have challenged me – especially that last sentence “why didn’t I risk ridicule…” Doing what we want, regardless of what others may think, is one huge step. I’m learning to take baby steps, but maybe, with your encouragement, I can take bigger risks and dare a little more.

    Here’s to dancing in the rain like no-one is watching. Let’s get wet!

  10. Paddy Hare says:

    “I feel a sudden compulsion to dash out of the front door and dance on the sodden grass, mud besplattered with my hands raised to the sky. The downpour running through my hair, drenching every strand, every cell, every fibre of my being, while I laugh and leap and whirl around madly.”

    This is the kinda childlike madness i want to be brave enough to embrace for the rest of my life :D

  11. The simple joys are always the best! When we’re on vacation, my husband and I like to take a few minutes to skip down the beach holding hands, willy-nilly, just letting it all go. It’s so liberating, and skipping is one of those things that instantly makes you laugh and feel young again. And, isn’t it part of the fun of being around a 4 year old, is feeling their free expression of unrestrained happiness? It’s unfortunate we adults are so inhibited by appearances. We should take a cue from the little ones, and… dance, skip, sing and laugh with abandon!!