Monday, October 3, 2011

Encroaching storm

Chestnut scurries through the kitchen, his belly mere millimeters from the floor as though his legs have vanished and his body now rests solely on his feet.

It must be serious, this lowering sky.

Wind has surged around the house all day, but it gusts now and the trees outside my window bow violently to one another. Chestnut squeezes himself in behind the bathroom vanity; his “safe room” when disaster seems imminent.

I cringe too when the wind blows this hard, when the trees bend more deeply than seems natural and their branches whip aggressively, erratically at the sky. They are like little boats tossed about on a vast squalling sea. I wait for the splintering sounds, the loud cracks and the hollow crashes of falling trees. I cross my fingers against the storm.

The power goes out as rain clatters on the roof and I watch twilight fall four hours too early. Through the trees the sky glows an eerie yellow, a light too heavy to travel. It falls dead outside the window.

Bear stretches out on the kitchen floor, a dark shape blending with the other dark shapes in the room beneath a tinny light that casts no shadows. I wait for her to panic, but she seems quite unconcerned by the descending storm today, even as thunder circles overhead.

In the entryway Murdoch sprawls on his blanket while Cleo snoozes on top of his kennel. Chestnut is the alarmist of the group, cowering somewhere behind the wall, expecting us all to blow away in the storm.

I contemplate lighting candles against this false twilight, but decide against it for now. Instead I lie down on the floor beside Bear, curl myself around her, my body following the shape of her back. The hair on her head tickles my nose and I drape my arm over her shoulder.

I close my eyes and breathe in Bear’s smell. Her muscles twitch as she relaxes, drifting away while thunder rolls heavily in the clouds around the house. I listen as her breathing gets slower and deeper until it becomes a low rumbling snore. On the wall the clock ticks loudly. Rain clatters on the roof.


  1. Calm before the storm? No, calm during the storm!

    My present dog Tom used to go mad when he heard thunder, but he takes no notice now. He's deaf!

  2. Bear has her moments, there are many times she has tried to crawl into my lap - all 80-some odd pounds of her - when there's thunder or a backfiring car or a distant pop of a firework. Her nervousness started with an impromptu fireworks display on a quiet lake coupled with a bear-banger incident. Sometimes she surprises me though and sleeps right through a storm or a rowdy holiday.