Glories of the Storm
It begins when a feeling of stillness creeps into my consciousness. Everything has suddenly gone quiet. Birds do not chirp. Leaves do not rustle. Insects do not sing.
The air that has been hot all day becomes heavy. It hangs over the trees, presses the heads of the flowers to the ground, sits on my shoulders. With a vague feeling of uneasiness I move to the window. There, in the west, lies the answer--cloud has plied on cloud to form a ridge of mammoth white towers, rearing against blue sky.
Their piercing whiteness is of brief duration. Soon the marshmallow rims flatten to anvil tops, and the clouds reveal their darker nature. They impose themselves before the late-afternoon sun, and the day darkens early. Then a gust of wind whips the dust along the road, chill warning of what is to come.
In the house a door shuts with a bang, curtains billow into the room. I rush to close the windows, empty the clothesline, secure the patio furnishings. Thunder begins to grumble in the distance.
The first drops of rain are huge. They split into the dust and imprint the windows with individual signatures. They plink on the vent pipe, and plunk on the patio roof. Leaves shudder under their weight before rebounding, and the sidewalk wears a coat of shiny spots.
The rhythm accelerates; plink follows plunk faster and faster until the sound Is a roll of drums and the individual drops become an army marching over fields and rooftops. Now the first bolt of tightening stabs the earth. It is heaven's exclamation point. The storm is here!
In spite of myself, I jump at the following crack of thunder. It rattles the windowpane and sends the dog scratching to get under the bed. The next bolt is even closer. It raises the hair on the back of my neck, and I take an Involuntary step away from the window.
The rain now becomes a torrent, flung capriciously by a rising wind. Together they batter the trees and level the grasses. Water streams off roofs and out of rain spouts. It pounds against the window in such a steady wash that I am sightless. There is only water. How can so much fall so fast? How could the clouds have supported this vast weight? How ran the earth endure beneath it?
Pacing through the house from window to window, I am moved to open-mouthed wonder. Look how the lilac bends under the assault, how the day lilies are flattened, how the hillside steps are a new-made waterfall! Now hailstones thump upon the roof. They bounce white against the grass and splash into the puddles. I think of the vegetable garden, the fruit trees, the crops in the fields; but, thankfully, the hailstones are not enough in numbers or size to do real damage . Not this time.
For this storm Is already beginning to pass. The tension is released from the atmosphere, the curtains of rain let In more light. The storm has spent most of its energy, and what is left will be expended on the countryside to the east.
I am drawn outside while the rain still falls. All around, there is cool and welcome feeling. I breathe deeply and watch the sun's rays streak through breaking clouds, One ray catches the drops that form on the edge of the roof, and I am treated to a row of tiny, quivering colors--my private rainbow.
I pick my way through the wet grass, my feet sinking into the saturated soil. The creek in the gully runs bank-full of brown water, but the small lakes and puddles are already disappearing into the earth. Every leaf, brick, shingle and blade of grass is fresh-washed and shining.
Like the land, I am renewed, my spirit cleansed, I feel an infinite peace. For a time I have forgotten the worries and irritations I was nurturing before. They have been washed away by the glories of the storm.
，a gust of wind whips（劲风卷起
）以及 chill warning（冷嗖嗖的