Its 2221 (10:21 pm for all you non-military personnel) Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 and I’m sitting on my front porch once again, listening to the crickets chirp in joy at the glorious dampness that is currently falling from the sky and cooling our city off for the first time in days. Yes, we have gotten a reprieve, however short lived, from the oppressive heat and humidity that has held not just my adopted city and state but the entire country hostage for the past few weeks.
Life here has been, at best just two millimeters from insanity. The heat has driven folks past their short-fuse-I’m-irritated-cause-I-just-saw-the-devil-buying-beach-front-property-to-open-up-a-new-level-of-torture-for-the-masses. Folks just seem to lose their mind over every small thing, for example, while I was standing in line at the grocery store I saw a lady pick a fight with another lady just because they were wearing opposing High School Alumni shirts. Now, if these ladies had been in their early to late twenties I could almost understand the angst they felt towards each other, but they were both clearly in their forties. Or, they had lived such a rough lives through partaking of legal and illegal substances that their bodies had aged prematurely twenty years since they graduated in early June.
What I was saying, the point I was trying to make is, it is hot! Very hot. And the rain was a much needed and welcome visitor. I can’t tell you how pleasing to all my senses the rain is. My ears marvel at the sound, my skin crinkles into gooseflesh in joy at the feel of t, my eyes are drawn to the prismatic laser show that is created as the droplets come between me and the light from the street lamps, my mouth is filled with a fresh, sparkling cleanliness that makes me smile, and the smell, oh the glorious scent carried down from the heavens by miniscule droplets of atmospheric bliss that holds no pollution of carcinogens because they were born at an altitude where our human debris cannot reach. A pureness that negates the invading aromatic coarseness of my cigar as I sit here and enjoy the gift of an earth reborn and refreshed from the heavens above by a creator who knows what he is doing, although at times it seems to us he is an absentee landlord.
You see, I love the rain and the storms that occur here on earth. The forces that congeal to create the temporary madness, mayhem and anarchy in an ecological system we as its caretakers have so blatantly tried to corrupt, control and coax into a manner that makes sense to us is purely a pipe dream we’ve been selling to ourselves since the first Neanderthal drew pictures on a rock wall. If you don’t believe in the amazing powers of our earth all you have to do is look at the devastation the storms create. Hurricane Hugo and Katrina, the tornados in Joplin, Tsunamis in the Pacific… I could go on and on and on but I know you get my point.
But to me, and this is a Skipism, I truly believe that the devastation a storm brings to a community it also brings out the best in people everywhere. One only needs to look at the brave men and women ready to go in after the carnage and clean up in the aftermath. Or even in the eyes of the people who selflessly give of themselves during the wreckage. A man who normally would turn his back on his neighbors just so he could get a good parking lot at the mall will risk his life to save an elderly person stuck in car about to be washed away by rising flood waters. A drug addict with nothing to live for will free a city councilman from under the wreckage of a building not for glory or money but because it is the right thing to do. These to me are miracles and with each passing storm, no matter how brief, the memories of the people who have lost their lives either trying to survive or trying to help others survive are brought to the fore front of my cerebral cortex.
Is it a curse, A blessing, A freak of nature, That I experience these things… I don’t know. But I am grateful for them. Simply because it proves to me that mankind as a whole is truly Man Kind and that regardless of the heat index, the storm surge height, the monetary value of devastation, we as a codified existence on earth are all connected to each other.
And that thought alone gives me hope in the survival of mankind. Who knew that a simple raindrop on a steamy night could stir such emotions and introspective thought from a guy who gets paid to play with trains? Not me that’s for sure. But as someone once said to me… “You are not as shallow as you want to be.”
What memories do the storms of nature and life bring you?