Living With Men Who Love Storms: Everyday Magic, Day 353

The men in my house love storms. Obsessively. Completely. It’s not that I don’t love storms too, but I also love sleep, watching movies and taking many baths. The men in my house, however, are single-minded when a storm is afoot, rushing downstairs with laptops to switch through TV news while turning up the weather radio, all in between running outside to look at the sky and turning out all the lights inside to get a better view.

It used to be the man in my house who loved stormed, but since Daniel moved back in, this storm mania went exponential, each of them calling out to the other, pointing to new websites on the screen or low-hanging clouds in the sky. It can go on for hours, and god help anyone who gets in their way.

Last night, after long discussions about atmospheric instability, why was the big cloud to our south continously roaring, and how unusual it is for such unpredictability to be at the front of a storm, I went to bed. Only to be pulled out of bed ten minutes later. “Caryn, it’s too unstable. Get down to the basement,” Ken said. “Hurry up, Mom,” Daniel called after him. The winds picked up, we heard reports on half-dollar-sized hail near us, and the sky strobe-light-flashed. Both men vanished, but I soon found them sitting on the front porch, bedazzled by the lightning.

Within half an hour, I was back in bed, but not the men in my my house. No matter that the worst part of the storm was on its way to Kansas City, safely east of us. They needed to track that too.

Tornadoes, Come Home: Everyday Magic, Day 338

Dear Tornadoes and Otherwise Tornado Alley Storms,

You know and I know that this is your home: Tornado alley, which encompasses much of Kansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas and some of Missouri. This is where you’ve been swirling yourself into ropes and wedges, de-barking trees and driving dogs and their owners into cellars and basements.

So what the heck are you doing in Springfield, Mass.? Didn’t we tell you to stay out of neigbhorhoods where people aren’t expecting you? Enough that you were in Alabama and Mississippi, and that you even showed up in New York and New Jersey. I mean, what’s next? Tornadoes in the Rocky Mountains at 14,000 feet? Tornadoes filling the Grand Canyon? Tornadoes in Antarctica?

You know well that people in tornado alley know how to track you, where to go when the sirens go off, and how to generally survive you even if you’ve gone all out and taken up most of the horizon. So why go bother whole cities that have never seen the likes of you, and may not be experts at locating the easiest way to drop underground?

While we’re having this conversation, I just have to say that it was totally out of line for you to go to Joplin. There’s plenty of open space around here where you could have stretched out, gotten comfortable, and although terrorized many a cow and rabbit, generally not ripped up so many people’s lives so thoroughly.

Remember all the room we have for you here, and if you have to be outrageously prolific, aim at least for the in-between places where there are ample basements and enough warning time. Also, stop rain-wrapping yourself invisible, which is totally unfair and actually even unwarranted. I know you have to do what you have to do, and whatever swinging shifts of climate are happening can trigger weather on steroids, but seriously, come home. Just tap together your heels — or the heels of whatever pair of glittery shoes you last picked up — and come back to us. And then please mind your manners.

After the Storm, the Stars: Everyday Magic, Day 335

Another poem inspired by Stephen Locke’s photographs, this one taken after the tornadoes in Oklahoma last week.

After the Storm, the Stars

rise from the Osage Orange, wheeling effortlessly overhead as if

nothing has changed. They shine awake in the fresh open heart of the air,

cleansed free of all but the wind without end that lashes leaves against leaves.

Meanwhile, the rays of remnant clouds burn translucent, then invisible.

The exposed dirt ages in the wind. A slat from a child’s doll cradle grows into

the grass. Paper from two towns away lifts to ferry important words nowhere.

The sky exhales, waits, surges then drops to the disturbed ridge where flowers

rock upside, the rocks from elsewhere dream of the old days, and in the off and on

cadence of distant train whistles someone’s cries come staccaco to this night

wrapped in shimmer and quiet. Tomorrow, not so far from here, there will be

search dogs and careful lifting of sheetrock and broken furniture, then

bulldozers and power saws, rented U-hauls to save, then clear, whatever is left.

Months ahead to measure what was lost, articulate what the weather can do

in numbers and even more, read the brail of the stories left behind. The new world

not conjured arrives here anyway, and over this sprawling tree of life, the stars.

Graduation Wrapped In Weather: Everyday Magic, Days 328-330

It’s hard to say where I’ve been, and so it’s hard to say where I’m going, but I know this: I’ve seen and am seeing some weather. My theory is that the combination of the rapture-ready folks, Oprah’s finale, karma, climate change and seasonal thunder (literally) all converged this weekend, spilling over into today.

To get more specific, the heat was on Saturday as we shlepped around Wichita, first getting thoroughly lost (mainly because I was driving while on the phone with Natalie and her airline). Turns out that a big storm in Minnesota blasted out some of Delta airline’s electricity, and Natalie was stuck for hours in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport with nowhere to go. Her early morning flight was canceled, she was sent home to try again on Sunday while my mom, Forest and I finally made our way to set up for Daniel’s graduation soiree at a friend’s house in Wichita. Within hours, Natalie called to say St. Paul was under a tornado watch, and then a warning. Being a Kansan kid, she went outside for a better view.

Fast-forward to later that night, an enormous amount of Lebanese food consumed by a herd of young adults, plus fascinating conversations on the state of the soul and the world (not surprisingly considering it was a party of Lebanese Orthodox, Evangelical Christians, Mennonites and Jews). We parked ourselves in hotel rooms in Northeast Wichita, turned on TV and computer, and voila! A line of very likely tornadoes was heading to our place in Lawrence. At the same time, Delta airlines canceled Natalie’s Sunday morning flight to watch her brother graduate, and Lady Gaga had a near nipple disfunction on Saturday Night Live. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

After getting to sleep very late (all that storm tracking, airline wrangling and Gaga gaga-ing, plus phoning and facebook-chatting with neighbors and friends to ensure our mutual safety), we watched Daniel generic cialis overnight shipping graduate on Sunday. The humidity was up, the air was electric, and to the far east, we could see a very unusual storm, outrageously tall. We would find out later this storm was on its way to Joplin, MO. In the meantime, Daniel and 91 others marched through the line of faculty, sat in an orderly fashion, and listened to a fascinating graduation talk by a local girl who became a federal judge on the unpredictability of following your life’s work.

Afterwards, and in the days since, we’ve been on the phone and internet often, tracking storms past and future, and especially the loss of our uncle and aunt’s home in Joplin (walls still up, but rain coming in; deep freeze still standing but garage around it vanished).

While our son has graduated college — something beyond the beyond of what I could have imagined when he was flipping out one afternoon while in fifth grade — there’s no graduating from living in the real weather of our lives. Just this afternoon, I drove my mother to the airport through a panorama of blue sky, overcast sky, dark front of a storm, greenish spread of clouds and the consequent driving rain, wind, hail and lightning. Then I weeded a garden in the drizzle, quiet between storms.

Now I write in this compressed space while we pray for people in Oklahoma, and Southern Kansas, my son calls his friends in Norman to make sure they’re okay, and we get ready to make plans to go to Joplin to help our family. The heavens billow, the hail forms and drops, the ropey tornadoes land and widen…..or not. We talk about the weather not just because we lack imagination or when the weather is dramatic. The weather is metaphor for and literally our lives, where we live. Sometimes the weather of our lives just makes our lives show up more vividly.

Will This Winter Never End?: Everyday Magic, Day 252

Dear Winter,

I’ve had it with you. Not that I don’t love your snowy fields of peace and pizzazz in late December, the wicked winds that announce how wild the weather can be that come during the blizzards, the first few snow days and the little thaws that punctuate January before the cold fronts return.

But it’s almost April already, and this is overkill. The birds are tired. The squirrels are tired. The dog is tired. And I’m tired of waking up cold, looking outside to see a cloud-saturated cold day and all the little eager blossoming things burnt by the icy nights.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here: I willingly accepted it was your cialis soft tabs no prescription game from about mid-November through mid-March. I didn’t put the down coats away early. I paid the propane bills without a fuss. I even scoffed at the little thaw day in Vermont when the icicles started melting, but hey, already, can’t you knock this off?

Maybe you could just give us another 10 degrees of warmth and a little sun? Maybe you can bow gracefully and do a pirouette toward the Southern Hemisphere? Maybe you would say, “Okay, I get it, and I’m out of here”?

Then I could say, “Thank you, have a great journey, and come back with stories to tell us next November.”


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