Unknown Revelations

Last night’s ferocious rainstorms, punctuated with brilliant flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder that shook the rafters and rattled the walls, brought dramatically cooler temperatures. I love violent rainstorms, but when they grow into beasts that spawn tornadoes, my love diminishes considerably. Last night, our phones suddenly screamed tornado warnings and advised us to seek shelter immediately. I do not know yet whether any tornadoes touched down in our vicinity or beyond. Yesterday’s 85°F felt even hotter, thanks to the humidity. The storms brought about significant change. Today’s humidity remains high, but this morning the outside temperature is in the mid 50s; the high is forecast to be just 62°F. Despite the cloud cover, the atmosphere is clean and clear. The pollen has been washed out of the air, so even on this dim, grey morning, the forest looks crisp and vivid. The edges of the leaves are well-defined. The look sharp and certain, unlike their shriveled, overheated selves of just twelve hours ago. When I walked outside, I was met with an abrupt, cool slap in the face. It felt good. A nice way to start the day.


Nature is never other than serene even in a thunderstorm.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright ~

Today will, again, be dedicated to emptying and cleaning the old house. A few more loads in the car and/or truck should be all that’s necessary. Then, it’s a matter of cleaning and tidying the place in preparation for the buyer, who is scheduled to take possession on Friday, after the closing. Before I head over, though, I will sit and gaze out my window as birds attempt to get their fill from the bird feeder hanging a few feet away. Like yesterday, blue jays swoop down from their perch on the shepherd’s pole from which the feeder hands. They cannot perch on the rim of the feeder, as they are far too heavy; the feeder would tip over from their weight. But it’s not just the blue jays that have trouble perching on the edge. Much smaller birds, too, seem to be unable to simply perch on the edge of the feeder and get their fill. They, too, grab and dash, though they can stand on the edge for a moment before they must fly off.

When I sit, mesmerized by birds, I try not to let myself think about what kind of birds I am watching or otherwise be curious about their sizes or wing shapes or profiles. That sometimes is hard (especially when the bird I’m watching is obviously a blue jay or a cardinal). I try to empty my mind of knowledge and curiosity; simply be entertained and enthralled by them. These incredible creatures defy gravity. They fly through the air, between tree branches and around leaves, at break-neck speed, never crashing into limbs or trunks or twigs. I am in awe as I watch them.


As much as I loved the view from the deck on my old house, I think I love just as much the feeling I get as I sit on the deck of the new place. Here, the deck is covered and the trees are clustered nearby. Forest creatures, including birds of course, are just a few feet away. There’s a quiet serenity on this deck that was not available in the open air of the deck at the other house. While both places have their unique appeal, I think this view is more peaceful and comforting. Looking out from the deck at the other house seemed to increase my wanderlust; I could see distances and I wanted to be in those distances. Here, though, distance is invisible. Here, I look out from the deck and I see the edges of my cocoon; the arms of Nature embracing me.


I am not comfortable writing everything on my mind. At least not in a place readily accessible to anyone and everyone. Some things are too private, too personal. One’s thoughts can cause one embarrassment if revealed to the world. Or they can be subject to misinterpretation, creating illegitimate but understandable grief by people who misinterpret them. Or they can be so intimate that they belong only to oneself; they cannot be shared even if one were to make every effort to share them.

Even with those caveats, I wish I could write all my thoughts. Document them so that, one day long after I die, someone might come upon them and discover things about me know to no one else—not even me. But how does one write something that reveals one’s own unknowns? That is a trick no one has ever learned. But people have discovered the writers have done it, if only by accident and without realizing it.

The admonition here is this: write, write, write. Write what you don’t feel comfortable or confident revealing. Just write it down. Empty your heart and mind through your fingers. One day, someone will learn something about you that you never knew.


Even though I have more work to do than I can accomplish if I spent six months trying, I still feel the need to get away. A road trip. A significant, lengthy, time-consuming road trip. Will I do it. Time, alone, will tell.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Unknown Revelations

  1. Yes, Rhonda, I will post some pictures within the next few days. 🙂

  2. Rhonda says:

    Will we get to see a few pictures of your new forest view? It sounds just as beautiful as the old view, just in a different way 🙂

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