As I sit here in Colorado on my daughter’s front porch writing out these thoughts, my husband and friends in Oklahoma are hunkered down beneath a lead apron of a summer storm. In fact, also last night I was out for an evening run and got caught in a rainstorm, but it was gentle and delicious. Not really much of a storm. Still, that synchronicity again.
On our long drive from Oklahoma to Colorado a few days ago, Jocelyn and I enjoyed mostly spectacular weather. We got so lucky, in fact, that both of us commented throughout our journey how nice it was. The triple-digit heat was on pause, mercifully. Easy cloud cover shaded her SUV. Barely any wind to knock us around. We were having fun and making great time.
And then the weather changed.
Somewhere just past the Kansas-Colorado border, the previously tranquil clouds swelled into dark, massive, churning things that stood not a little threatening over our path. Sunshine streamed through and against them in metallic opposition, but the translucent white had turned gray and murky then nearly black. Rain fell in unbelievably huge drops, pelting us, and then we heard hail. Not much, in fact not enough to do any damage, but it was a noisy interruption to our day of spectacular travel weather. Had we been easily shaken travelers, the noise would have been scary.
On that straight stretch of highway with vast grazing and farmland on both sides, we drove steadily. Stopping was both unnecessary and foolish. Also- we could gaze not far ahead and plainly see abundant sunshine again and dry asphalt roads. The storm raging overhead was angry but small and unmoving. Temporary. We only had to get through it.
It got worse before it got better, of course. By the time we reached the far edge of the storm shadow, tiny hail was falling plentifully and we had seen several mercury threads of lightning.
Then, in a moment, we were out. Back in the sun. Not a drop of rain still falling. The highway shoulders were overflowing with gallons and gallons of those tiny white hailstones, and this stretched on for about a quarter of a mile. It made me do a double take, to make sure, but yes- the storm was over. This carpet of hail was proof it had swept through, but all we had to do was keep the windshield wipers going a moment longer to clear our vision a little and continue forward.
This little scene unfolded during one of my driving shifts. Joc was sitting next to me with her sweet, energetic puppy on her lap. I looked at them and felt so much love and simultaneously noticed an absence of fear. I felt as calm as the skies now looked. I checked the rear view mirror and saw that black-and-blue storm still raging behind us, appearing to do much more damage than it had the power to do.
That little storm did happen; it was not imagined. But it’s behind us now and we came out of it perfectly safe and happy with a million things to celebrate and an exciting path in front of us.
Lots of storms do very real damage, of course. Nobody from Oklahoma (or Colorado!) would dare say otherwise. But plenty are brief and gentle, too. Sometimes instead of stopping in your tracks just to get beat up for no reason, it’s best to move steadily forward on your chosen path. Let the storm rage if it must but keep your eyes on the abundant sunshine coming right up. Move toward that until your storm is far behind you.
“Birds sing after a storm;
why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight
in whatever sunlight remains to them?”