The wind moves where it will and though you hear it blow,
you know not whence it came or just where it may go. John 3:8
When has life left you thunderstruck?
We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and people; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swimming in the wind, that trees are travelers …
They make many journeys, not extensive ones, it is true; but our own little journeys, away and back again, are only little more than tree wavings … John Muir
In depth of night,
while multitudes slumbered,
a storm announced itself with thunderous rumble.
Muffled booms and far-away flares;
reminiscent of distant wars or gunshots and siren-strobe glares
in neighborhoods nearer; startled me awake.
Then came that wild wind,
to shudder at the door;
rain rattling the windows.
Fascinated by forces unleashed,
drawn out to the stoop,
I let the tumult steal my breath.
Billows of lifted dust,
betrayed secret scuttles of a wind
that swept the street and sprinkled the world wet.
Combing limbs and twigs
for their treasury of leaves,
cool waves cascaded down the street.
And how the trees, bent and quivered
before surrendering to the whipping surge;
giving in to the swell.
And how those gusts,
already broken over faraway woods, hills, homes,
now careened down cluttered alleyways.
Flashes and crashes
released torrents to cleanse the air,
turning streets into silty streams.
In the shadow of your wings shall I find refuge,
until the calamitous storms pass me by. Psalm 57:1
How much change
is borne by storms
that refresh and rearrange the world.
What would life be without stormy weather,
and the seasonal transformations it brings;
those raining, rushing tempests that terrify and fascinate?
Must the necessary changes
of mood, character and culture
be birthed in violent catharsis?
Yet, how else would we know thrill and tremor,
and let loose prayerful sighs,
moans and gasps,
unless we dare venture into night
put our faces to the blustery wind,
and let our little lives be swept away by wonder?
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil… Gerard Manley Hopkins
In the wake of ravaging climate catastrophe,
may you be moved to bring hope and healing;
and be some shelter in the storm.
May changing winds blow right through you,
liberating all that needs to be let go—
old grudges, care-worn complaints and stifling, cynical denial.
As you let go, may awe take hold,
to humble, delight
and coax the very breathe out of you.
And may you be stirred to your depths,
carried off by such joy and sorrow,
till you are “beside yourself” with awe at life’s mystery and marvel.
The storm-tones died away and… I beheld the countless host of forest hushed and tranquil, towering above one another like a devout audience. The setting sun filled them with amber light, and seemed to say, while they listened, “My peace I give unto you.” John Muir
Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill
Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant