Friday, May 29, 2009

Chicken Heart

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a yellow-bellied chicken heart. Well, not always, but most of the time when I see the lightening and hear the thunder booming, I cringe and want to hide under the bed.

Last night I was out at a friend's house a few miles from here. We were sitting in a cement block building on their farm where a group of bluegrass pickers meets every Thursday night. Suddenly, the music was being drowned out by the sound of thunder and a light show accompanied the drum rolls in the sky. Every now and then we'd hear static in the microphones. I thought it might be wise to turn off the electrical equipment, but I didn't say a word. The guys just went on playing, while I shuddered every time Nature showed the musicians some competition.

The small crowd began to leave, one by one, around nine o'clock....three hours earlier than most nights. Word came by cell phone that a bad string of thunderstorms was heading our way. I didn't know whether to stick it out or to drive myself home, directly into the path of the storm.
Finally I decided to make my way across the six or seven miles to my house. I turned the radio on full blast and sang loudly, praying at the same time, while the skies opened up in torrents.

I don't know what it is that scares me so much about the noise and lightening. I try to comfort myself with fantasy stories, such as those that we used with the children when they were little. "The angels are bowling" or " the furniture's being rearranged in Heaven." I'm too old for that scam to work! I speak rationally, telling myself it's just the collision of hot air and cold air that makes all that racket and there's nothing to be afraid of. I count between the lightening and the thunder claps so that I can convince myself that there are many miles between me and the storm, even though it might appear to be right over my head. I pray. Nothing seems to work to alleviate my worries.

Some of this fear might be because at one time, while on vacation in New Hampshire, I was nearly struck by lightening while walking up the road from a river. With no warning, I felt the hair on the back of my neck and on my arms stand up, and then I heard the distinct sound of electricity shooting through the air. As it hit the telephone pole very near where I was walking,
I hit the ground and covered my head. I'm sure I looked stupid, but fortunately, the only one who saw me was my husband, and he was amazed by the streak of lightening that threaded it's way directly to the top of that pole.

I do have a healthy respect for the power God holds in His hand, and for the workings of Nature.
Thus far I have survived it, and all things considered, I probably will continue to. I will also continue to try to talk myself out of the fear that grips me when those storms arrive, but, please, don't even mention a tornado sighting! You'll find me cowering in the bathroom, praying fiercely for mercy and protection. My husband says he wants to build a bunker...similar to the old underground things some built in the 1950's and 60's to protect themselves from nuclear radiation. I guess he has his own fears.

There are actually times when I feel very brave, realizing that there's really not one thing I can do if Nature's out to get me. I feel a peace in that thought at this moment....but of course that is very easy to do today, while the sun is shining and the birds are singing. For this moment, I'll feel courageous, and if a storm arises, I'll attempt to put that bravery into action. But, like Scarlett O'Hara, I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow.