Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The edge of the storm

It is pouring again. Murdoch, Jack and I make our way home down the road where rain falls so hard the ground looks like a sea of fish, their little mouths opening and closing at the surface of some great lake, churned brown from the rain and a million flapping fins.

We are soaked. My pants stick to my legs and direct water down into my boots. But I don’t hurry. I hide my camera under my jacket and watch the rain obscure the landscape around us in silvery sheets. There is a flash of lightning and Murdoch starts, then jumps when thunder cracks overhead.

Just moments before, before the rain poured down, I stood at the edge of the storm where slate gray clouds crowded in at the trailhead at the end of our road and the landscape reflected light in odd ways. Thunder rumbled just out of reach around the mountains and over the trees, quietly taking stock of the world below as I took stock of it, existing in the stillness. It was like standing outside of time.

I stood with the toes of my boots touching the lip of the great puddle that flooded the trail from previous rainstorms and beaver dams and watched the sky. I could have easily sloshed through the water, but I did not want to disturb the stillness, break the quiet of the woods ahead where the trail disappeared amongst the trees. The only sounds were the tentative rolling of thunder above and the rustle of grasses just off the trail where Murdoch and Jack tracked unseen things.

I saw the raindrops before I heard them, spreading out in rings over the puddle at my feet. They were sporadic at first, unpredictable, becoming steadier and larger until they were plinking loudly on the water’s surface. It wasn’t until the rain became a wall with the blare of static and the dogs appeared at my side that I turned and headed for home.

The rain is warm despite the fall-like temperatures we have had in the evenings and the damp days and the wearing of sweaters. Murdoch stays glued to my side unsure, it seems, of the driving rain as Jack trots ahead and makes a dash for his house. The light has changed again, filtered through the bucketing rain, it is more yellow, more menacing even than the dark flat gray of earlier. Still, I don’t hurry.

When we turn into our driveway it is like we are emerging from the ocean. Beneath the trees, the rain is not so heavy but it changes pitch, becomes louder, as it clatters down amongst the branches. Part of me wants to stay outside, but there is thunder and lightning and trees. And anyway, the edge of the storm has moved on, taking with it that stillness and that moment out of time. So we push through the once towering flowers that have collapsed across the path to the house and disappear inside.

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