Waiting for Bad Weather

The sky is clouding over with those thick, dark clouds that roll in on a stream of rising humidity during a hot summer afternoon.The wind is still blowing a little bit out there and I’m waiting for that moment when all the trees go still, when the sky seems to hold its breath until it can’t wait any longer and, then, BOOM! A streak of lightning followed by its companion thunder clap announces the arrival of a storm.

I love that moment. It changes everything. It’s like that moment when an idea first hits and demands attention, refuses to go away because it does truly have the power to change something. Maybe it’s an idea for the next piece of art, of writing, of activism, or maybe it’s only the insistence that you are wearing the wrong color socks. Whatever. It matters somehow. This is the kind of moment I’m constantly seeking, the one that gets me to the next page, the next metaphor, the next conclusion, on to the new project.

And this is the moment that so many people seem to fear. Sure, the start of a storm or the arrival of a new thought can be the end of a comfortable situation. Or it can be that second when a new vista emerges with exactly what’s needed to solve a problem, inspire, re-energize, soothe. There’s so much potential in the unknown. Even if everything gets shot to hell from a lightning strike, there’s always going to be another moment of change. 

Speaking of change, I’m a day early with this week’s posting because I’ll be on the road tomorrow and it’s predicted to be stormy. I may be in for a wild ride. Or just a rainy one. Nevertheless, there’ll be a change of scenery and a shift in routine that can only make me think a little differently for a day. And that’s all right with me.


Summer in Minnesota, among other places, means tornadoes. Tornadoes mean damage and frightened people. Ever wondered how to help after a storm does a lot of damage in the community? Various faith communities often organize volunteers, but if you’re not connected to one of those, you need other options. Check out the Red Cross site to see how you can become a volunteer and be ready to assist the next time disaster hits close to home. Follow the link here.


  1. I love storms! I'll even risk dancing around in one. For me, it's refreshing at the same time as a jolt to the senses (hopefully not literally!), which, when the times comes, is the same for writing something great.


  2. Sometimes helping is just as simple as lending a hand.

    I fell once in New York City, injured my arm on the concrete sidewalk and couldn't get up. As I rolled around on the street desperately trying to get on my feet, all I saw were shoes whipping by to and from lunch. In those few seconds I learned there were more styles of shoes in the world than I ever imagined.

    Finally I heard a voice.

    “Make room, give him air, I was medic in Vietnam!”

    A strong hand gripped me under my armpit and hoisted me up onto my feet.

    When I got my bearings there he was, standing in front of me, a homeless guy in a tattered raincoat, scraggly beard with the distinct smell of a morning drinker.

    “I’m fine,” said looking around at my arms and legs.

    I turned around again and he was gone.

    And all he did was lend a hand.


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