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Dancing in the Rain

May 2, 2012

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

There is nothing like a good thunderstorm to stir the soul

Seriously, there is just something about the power of an approaching storm that holds me in absolute awe.  Not terror; awe.  The pure majesty of it; the strength of it; the promise of release in the whipping of the wind and the scent of wonder and possibility that fills my head with its overpowering fragrance; what’s not to be amazed at?

When the dark clouds start rolling in and the pressure starts building and the leaves start turning themselves inside out and glinting silver against a darkening sky, most people head for cover after checking to make sure they’ve rolled up the car windows and brought in the dog.  I on the other hand (and much to my husband’s annoyance) go around throwing open the windows as far as they will go and then head out into the yard to welcome it.

I’ve done this since I was a little girl, and I can remember my grandmother (who was deathly afraid of thunderstorms) calling after me frantically as I’d dash out the back door as the first thunderclap rattled the clouds on the horizon in order to dance like a gypsy around the big blue spruce that grew behind our house.

I’d dance and dance in wild abandon, letting the percussion of the thunder serve as my rhythm and as the wind picked up I’d end up twirling through the tall grass and the lupines that grew on the hill beneath the blue spruce until I’d fall flat on my back and watch the towering clouds in their never-ending patterns take over the sky.

Eventually my gram would send one of my aunts or more often my grandfather out to collect me (he did not have the fear of storms she did) but even so I’d beg him to not to make me go in until the lightning was almost directly overhead, and it was he who taught me to count the spaces between thunderclaps in order to determine their distance and explained why it was that the leaves turned inside out.

Even once I was back inside I’d be glued to the window; staring in amazement at the streaks of lightning and the power of the whipping wind as it would throw the trees into complete disarray.  Of course once the storm front would pass by and it started to seriously rain, I’d lose all interest and wander off in search of other pursuits, but during the storm itself, you couldn’t tear me away.

Even once I started school and learned about weather systems and barometric pressure and electricity and Ben Franklin and his kite (yeah, they still taught that story when I went to school) I still couldn’t seem to shake my fascination with storms.  It didn’t matter how many statistics people would throw at me about the number of people to be hit by lightning every year; or the dangers of flash floods or how expensive it was to replace furniture that had been water damaged because I’d left the bedroom window open while it was raining, the power of storms has never lost their hold over me.

Of course part of the fascination that I had was in the building sensations inside of my own body; how my own energy would build in proportion to the storm itself, and how it would dissipate as the storm would break, with the tension and the excitement pouring out of me like a could burst.

And part of it was the underlying feeling that there was something else lying just beneath the surface of my mind; a bigger, stronger part of me; a knowing of myself that went far beyond the little girl in jeans and braids who was laughing manically while twirling around the spruce tree, because for just a minute I could feel that connection with everyone and everything.

I could feel myself as the wind whipping through the trees and through my hair and filling the sails of the boats on the harbor.  I could see myself as the lightning; as the skin tingling energy that filled the air and lit up the night sky; I could sense myself as everything from the grass between my toes to the huge towering clouds.

For just a moment I was part of something far greater than myself; my little individualistic and independent personhood was gone.  For just a moment I could feel the universe inside me; moving through me.  And maybe, at the heart of it, that is what most people are afraid of.

Perhaps they are not really afraid of the lightning or the flash floods or of losing power.  Maybe it’s not the rain that they are shutting out when they go around closing the windows.  Maybe what they are shutting out isn’t the lightning or the whipping wind or the furniture ruining rain.

Maybe what they are shutting out is the fear of experiencing what they have known (even if subconsciously) all along; that they are part of something far bigger than themselves; that at the fundamental heart of things we are all connected and that all of those things that we feel make us “special” and “different” are just the imaginations of a fevered ego that is trying desperately to justify its reason for being.

Maybe it’s time to stop fearing the storm and throw open the windows.  Or, better yet, perhaps it’s time to go dancing in the rain.

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