Thoughts on a dull evening


Summer storm in downtown Fort Worth

Storms are predicted for tonight, and barring tornadoes, North Texas will welcome them. We need the rain desperately. And I for one enjoy a good storm. My dog, not so much. But something popped up somewhere online today asking whether or not you enjoy storms, and that question took my mind back a lot of years.

When I was growing up, my family had a cottage on a high dune overlooking Lake Michigan at the very foot on the lake, in the Indiana dunes. Storms would roll down that lake from the north, churning the water into wild whitecaps. We were of course forbidden to swim on those days, but I loved watching those storms come in, and I felt secure in our little cottage with the lake to the front and the woods behind us. My brother and I both credit our mother for teaching us to enjoy rather than fear storms.

I enjoy them to this day, much to Jacob’s bewilderment when he was little and scared. One night when he was with me, a storm took the roof off a business down the street form us, and I did think maybe he was right. I should have been more concerned.

Another night, we watched large hail pelting us from the sky—and then we went to bed. At the time, the house was being re-roofed, and I didn’t realize that only a temporary tarp had been put over the flat-roofed add-on at the back of the house that served as a family room. In the morning when I woke up, the house smelled of rain and water. I nudged Jacob, because I wanted company, even if it was only a seven-year-old, and holding hands we walked through the kitchen to the back room. It was two or three inches deep in water. All my cookbooks were ruined, plus all the y/a books I’d written that we had put out for a special sale for parents and teachers from the school across the street. In no time, we had neighbors, our contractor, and the roofing company owner on their hands and knees mopping and sponging up water. Jordan, whose birthday it was, spent the day sorting books to see which could be salvaged. I was by then having severe hip problems and could do little except wring my hands.

But the storm memory that most remains in my memory is the night Jacob insisted we go to the long, walk-in closet in my bedroom. He had outfitted it with a chair, a flashlight, my book, and a glass of wine for me. For him, a puzzle or something, blankets and a pillow, and a sippy cup full of I don’t know what. I can’t remember how long we sat there until I finally convinced him the danger was past. Such sweet memories to treasure. I hope now, at almost sixteen, he enjoys storm as much as I do, but it’s not a subject you ask a teen about.

It's been a stressful week, and the odd thing is that it’s not just me. I’ve heard it from others, some in far parts of the country. The leaked draft of Justice Alito’s papers on the Roe case have profoundly shaken most of us, sending the abortion question to the states where in too many instances laws will be written without exemptions for life-threatening conditions, rape, incest, or a non-viable fetus (such as an ectopic pregnancy where the fetus lodges in a Fallopian tube and not the uterus). And these laws will be made by mostly white men with absolutely no medical background but a fiercely self-righteous piousness.

The Ukraine invasion wages on, and though we admire the Ukrainian bravery and resolve, there is no way to avoid horror at the butchery and barbarism. And closer to home, the wildfires of the West blaze on. The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire has now burned something like 160,000 acres. That’s a lot of people displaced, and a lot of animals, both wild and domestic, either killed or traumatized.

The good news around here is that I, all by myself, fixed my hearing aids by re-pairing them to the phone. Directions are online. It just took me a bit yesterday to remember that. And Sophie seems some better. Sje refused to eat this morning but ate tonight and took her pills. Pill pockets seem to do the trick. She still has some ferocious coughing fits, but they seem less frequent. And she was chasing squirrels today—always a good sign. Maybe we’re slowly working our way out of the smaller traumas at our house.

Rain would help. So join me, please, in praying for a benevolent storm tonight. The last couple of nights I’ve seen lightening about three in the morning but have gone back to sleep too quickly to know if it rained or not. Both mornings, though, the streets were wet.

Sweet dreams of rain, everyone! And may it rain heavily in New Mexico.