Sunday Storms

Shortly after 1 a.m., brilliant flashes of lightning and extraordinarily loud, earth-shaking cracks of thunder roused me from deep sleep. Just as I awoke, the NOAA weather radio’s alarm screamed, followed by its almost indecipherable, crackling voice, warning of a powerful thunderstorm. I did not need the automaton’s warning, after being jolted by the hissing, growling, rolling, cracking thunder—and the spectacular light show.  The commotion was sufficient to prompt me to get out of bed. I prowled the house and, of course, came upon Phaedra, who was not especially enamored of Mother Nature’s tantrum. Normally, Phaedra hops into mi novia’s lap, but avoids me. The weather gave her reason to tolerate my lap for about half an hour, as we watched the strobe-like flashes of lightning and listened to the sky as it shattered into a million pieces in response to the storm’s attack. Finally, the light show and thunder softened just enough for me to think I might be able to get back to sleep, so I went to bed. Eventually, I went to sleep. And, eventually, I woke; after 6:30. Soon thereafter, another storm roared through. Though this morning’s storm is not nearly as powerful as the one last night, it is sufficiently strong to assert Nature’s enormous raw power. I love watching storms. Even after being roused in the middle of the night, I love witnessing the power and hearing the fury of Nature. Except, of course, when the power gets out of hand. Recent hail storms, dropping only a few hailstones on us, did serious damage all around our area; such stuff leaves me awe-struck, too, but I would rather watch such power in places where the damage to people, pets, and property is not so severe. As I write this, this morning’s storm continues to rage. I wonder whether tree branches litter the streets of the Village. We’ll see, when we leave for church less than two hours hence.


We participated in two celebrations of life in recent days, the most recent watching, via Zoom, a service celebrating the life of a friend’s mother, who died recently. The other was a gathering, organized by the deceased man’s wife and daughter, held at a local community center. The Zoom service was both celebratory and sad, as might be expected of such an event. The in-person event, which took place several months after the man’s death, was more of an opportunity for family and friends to gather to view photos and relive fond memories. Both affairs were considerably more upbeat than traditional “funeral” services, which in my limited experience tend to be somber events drenched in gravitas and sorrow. Both people were known for their humor and love of life. Celebration was much more befitting than would have been a ceremony focused on grief and mourning. Surely, mourning played a part in both, but grief was secondary to celebration. The purposes of funerals and celebrations of life are to honor lives lost, to mourn losses, and to comfort surviving family and friends. There was a time I avoided such activities because I misunderstood them and they made me uncomfortable; that is no longer the case.


The storm seems to have subsided. The cat has stopped yowling and scratching rugs and otherwise creating mischief. I have allowed myself to think with my fingers. If I had not overslept, I happily would continue to transfer my thoughts from my head to the screen. But I have places to be and things to do. So, here’s to another Sunday.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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