What The Thunder Said

A rare treat as I was writing this morning: from my desk I heard the sound like a truck rumbling in the sky and I dashed outside in time for the next one to come. It was the sort of morning that would have been better spent listening to thunder than writing, but the sky went silent again and I returned to work. Growing up in Rhode Island, the summers would get so humid the air seemed to come to a complete and exhausted stop. Such was the price we’d pay for the guarantee of three to four cinematic thunderstorms every season. Finally the air would stir at midday, the clouds would lower to the treetops, and we’d stand on the front steps and wait for it. You prayed you’d get one right over your head, though the sound was like a crack opening to swallow the world. Still, there you’d be, intact, and then the rain would come and you could breath again.

All that stillness before the rain could feel like death, even though it was summer and you had nothing to do, just as you’d dreamed all school year. A tireless nothing that strengthened with time and oppressed like the air, but to disturb it, to complain about it, would mean that you wanted more than this finally, your own time—not your teachers’, not your parents’, not your coaches’, just yours—so now what to do?

What to do at your desk in temperate Seattle where thunder is like a tourist lost in your town? You feel like its come to visit you from far away, because you knew it like the accent of a stranger asking directions. Here you aimed the arrow of your life at this, this time at your desk, and when the thunder rattles with memory and breaks the stillness, you run to it, hopeful for answers, and greeted only by the silence you requested long ago.

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