"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, May 21, 2004
hu-mid-i-ty Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : a moderate degree of wetness especially of the atmosphere
2 : what makes you drench your clothes on a day like this one
Tonight, there will be thunder. Lots of it.
This is our first really humid day of our summer season. You can sit outside and just feel the pent up energy in the air, and that energy is straining to shove the thunderheads higher and higher in preparation for our meteorological assault this evening.
In other words, it's a good night to stay home.
I have always loved thunderstorms. There is something inside of me that seems to feed on the wildness in their midst. I am almost never happier than I am standing on my porch, fully exposed to the lash of the rain, the blaze of the lightning, and the earsplitting shatter of the thunder.
Just one more thunderbolt, send just one more, I want to feel it, to thrill to it, to lose myself in it.
Years ago, we lived in central Florida. If you look at the state on a map, it looks like there is a "waist" in the middle of it. That's where we lived. The other name for that area is thunderstorm alley.
There is something about the mixing together of the warm Gulf stream out in the Atlantic to the east, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and this little nondescript land mass in the middle that produces boomers the like of which I have never seen before.
In one of those storms, the lightning would strike so rapidly that the thunder would sound like some sort of cosmic machine gun. The rain would start suddenly, pour down like a million fire hoses and then stop like somebody flipped a switch.
Afterwards, steam would rise from the streets and the roofs of the houses. The humidity would be so high you could barely breathe.
It was during one of those storms that we had our unexpected visitor.
My wife walked out through our laundry room to close our back porch door, which we had opened to air out the house. Suddenly she yelled "What did you do out here??!?"
So I came running, knowing I had done nothing since I had not been anywhere near that room. "Look at the floor!" she said. "I can't believe you tracked all of that in!"
I looked. The floor was covered in mud. And tracks.
"That wasn't me," I assured her. "Look, there's tracks of some sort in it."
"Something must have come in here, some sort of animal," she said.
By this time I was staring at her ironing board.
"It's still here."
Glaring balefully at me from the corner of our laundry room was a dog. I have no idea what kind of dog it was, other than it was a lot bigger than anything you would want to find in your laundry room.
Of course, it was obvious at this point that the dog thought it was his laundry room, and we were the interlopers. In the background, just to add to the tension of the moment, the rain continued to pour down in torrents and the thunder rolled like some crazed timpani player on speed.
"Its scared from the storm," I said. "Oh look, its got a tag and a collar, Let's see what it sa...YIKES, ok buddy, I won't stick my hand that close again."
We retreated around the corner into the kitchen, while the dog glared some more and hummed at us with a deep throated growl that said "Yes, I fully intend to eat you, I'm just choosing the sauce."
"Well, we can't just leave him in there!" my wife sagely decided.
"Um, where is the mop? Oh, right, in the garage. Which is on the other side of the laundry room." I crept through the war zone, trying my best to look like a non-threatening and badly flavored non-meal. I retrieved the mop, and sidled back into the kitchen.
The dog continued to glare.
Somehow, the mop gave me confidence and courage. Yes, this was the right tool, this was going to work!
I stepped through the door, a knight in armor armed with my trusty...uh...mop. Well, it felt better than it sounds. Anyway, I gave the dog a nudge.
Here's a word of advice. Never nudge a strange scared dog with a mop. This is classified as a bad move. If you can imagine shooting the dog up with some super energy pill that made him go beserk, well, you get the picture.
Amidst all of the angry biting, snapping and canine curses on my family, I quickly retreated to the kitchen again, and pulled the door shut behind me.
"That didn't work."
"No, it didn't."
"Well, you can't just leave him in there."
Making a mental note that "we can't just lean him" had turned somehow into "you can't just leave him" I began trying to formulate my next plan of attack.
What I needed was something that first of all would not hurt the dog at all, and second would make our laundry room a very unpleasant place. Something like Mace was out of the question. A broom would do about as good as the mop did.
I shouted a bit. He glared back with one of those "sticks and stones" looks. Nope, that didn't work either.
But wait... Yes I had it! It would work! And no one would get hurt, especially me!
Even better, it involved firecrackers!!!
I ran to my bedroom and grabbed the box of snap and pops I had stuck in a corner of my closet somewhere. These were perfect for the job.
"Snap and Pops" were little bundles of paper, grit and gunpowder. When you tossed one, it would make a loud "Pop!" upon hitting the ground (or person, or in this case animal) but it was all sound and no fury, they had no ability to harm anything.
I cracked the door. The dog was still looking, just as he had been, he had not moved a muscle. The only difference was that somewhere along the way, the rain had stopped.
I grabbed three snap and pops and let fly. They hit the wall behind my canine adversary and went "Pop! POP! POP!"
And just like that, he got up, and he trotted out the door which I quickly closed behind him.
Afterwards, I left my wife to clean up her laundry room.
But tonight, I am just going to enjoy a Virginia thundershower. They are fairly tame as compared to the wild Florida ones, but they are fun just the same.
I'll grab a Coke, grab a seat, and grab some wild.
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.
Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967), 'Fair Weather,' Sunset Gun, 1928