The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR: INNER AND OUTER STORMS
My family moved out into the country. We had a house built and it had about five acres of land and part of that was covered in woods. I spent a lot of time in those woods and rarely spent any time in the large front yard unless I was mowing it.
But there was one moment that stands out and I run through my mind quite often. There was a storm coming, one of those Spring storms that had a lot of force and rain. I stood out in the front yard with my dad and we watched this shelf could roll toward us. It was large and ominous but we stood our ground. I put my arm across his shoulders, something I hadn’t done in a while. The closer it got, the more the wind whipped up making our clothes flap and nearly blowing my baseball cap off my head. As it passed over our heads, a smattering of rain started, turning from spaced fat raindrops to a torrential downpour. By the time we ran for the open garage door, we were drenched.
I remember smiling the whole time and feeling joy. Not only did I share this moment with my dad but it was the thrill of the storm.
I looked at my dad and said, “That was cool.” He just smiled back. He probably thought my kid is a little weird.
But I loved it.
And I still love storms.
Let me be clear. I don’t love all storms. If they bring tornadoes or hail or damaging winds, I’m not a fan. Especially at night when I can’t see them coming and my stress levels are revving in the red. The worry for my family and what I have keeps me pacing from one window to another checking to see what destruction is taking place outside and wondering if our lives and home are about to head to Oz.
Not those storms.
I love storms that bring wind gusts that are not too strong, that blows in your face that causes you to shut your eyes for a moment and breathe it in. I love storms that bring thunder and lightning. Not dangerous lightning (I guess all lightning has the potential to be dangerous) but lightning that takes place high up but low enough to smell the ozone. And I love storms that bring sheets of rain.
And I love the afterward. Puddles and running water in runoffs in the streets and yards. As I child, where our yard sloped down towards the street and the rainwater would run from one end to the other, I would walk barefoot through it and feel the swaying grass underfoot. I would splash and get my shorts wet. I never worried about broken glass that could have been there, should have been there. I just continued to kick my feet and wade ankle-deep until I got bored or my mother or father would yell at me to stop and think about what I was doing. Of course, they were worried about the glass that was probably being pulled into the yard from the gravity and flow of the water. I’m a parent now. I get it. But there never was. I never got cut. And I have never regretted it.
And I still love it. But now I’m worried about broken glass and who knows what else that might be under my bare feet. I just imagine doing it now.
Back to the storms.
I still love them. They feel magical and help get my creative juices flowing.
But there is another reason. Its something I didn’t know about when I was younger when stress and anxiety and depression were there but not to the level I have now.
The storms balanced me. The outside turmoil helped balance the inside turmoil. The oncoming power of them helped me forget, for a while, how I was feeling. When I stood outside and met the storm head-on, it felt as if it was dusting me off with its wind and waking me up with the lightning and thunder and washing me off with the rain. I felt a part of it. I felt like I belonged to it when I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere else.
And I still do.
I enjoy sunny days sometimes. Especially when the humidity is low and the sky is a dark blue. But those are few and far between. And if I can’t have a storm, I like my cloudy days when the clouds are heavy and grey with the potential of a storm somewhere inside them. The term ‘blanket of clouds’ is not lost on me. The idea of these dark clouds above gives me comfort. They help smother the bad thoughts and feelings, the stress and anxiety that builds up inside my head.
Going back to that moment in the yard when my father and I watched the storm come in, I was happy to share that moment with him. I felt like he might have had the same thought and feelings about it. I hope that it brought him some relief with the stresses he was facing at that time, a chance to forget them and watch the power of nature in its power and glory.
Plus, maybe he enjoyed sharing that moment with his son. We both facing down a storm together and waiting for relief.
So, yeah. I love storms. Not dangerous ones.
Just the ones that bring me relief.
I could use one right now.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
December 6th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.