Monday, April 04, 2005

The Fall Storm Hits

The leaves were changing color. This happened a year earlier. The greensward became a carpet of glistening dew and the trees which surrounded the park towered overhead, every day donning brighter and brighter clothes, reds and yellows filtering the waning sunlight, Lassie and I would amble about, she sniffing the ripe earth and I looking up in amazement. We often played alone, my mother busy with not only the younger brother but now yet another sister. Avoiding the older siblings was a good thing for me, the middle child. Few noted my presence or absence.

This day was opressively hot, the wind barely stirring. I didn't feel like playing. Somehow, it seemed like too much work. Between two of the biggest oak trees growing next to the Victorian house that the Director's family lived in, that is, my home, was a hammock. I loved it and would play in the hammock by myself. But today, it was beguiling and warm and I fell asleep as the very air became heavy and thick. The sleep was sound, perhaps the last time this was possible, a deep sleep, untroubled.

A peal of thunder woke me up with a start. The sky was nearly pitch black, green swirls as the bottoms of the clouds seemed to sag lower and lower. Another bolt of lightning made me fly for the house as fast as my four year old legs could run.

The wind tore at my cotton dress and my long hair thrashed about my face. Trying to open the front door, I pulled and pulled as the rain stung my legs, the door flew open and out of my hands. The house was utterly dark. I cried, "Mommy, daddy" but no one was there. I ran to the light switch in the livingroom and pushed but nothing happened except a lightning bolt lit up the room and the roar of the thunder was instantaneous.

The electricity was off.

I ran upstairs, crying. Ran into the West bedroom where my grandmother's quilt covered my parent's bed, but it was empty. So I ran into my room which had windows facing the South and the East. My Victorian iron bed with the paisely quilt was like an island of security so I jumped into it and burrowed under the blanket. My mother had left the window open and it was still open as the rain poured in and the huge oak tree shooks and groaned outside. The leaves tore off the branches as it sang to me, the tree sang of water and death, rocking back and forth, the lightning making a shining path along the great limbs that reached out to me. I hid under the blankets and cried.

Then all became unearthly quiet. Like the storm taking a breath. My quilt lifted lightly into the air and my hair swam about my face, swirling, lifting as my arms rose and I sat up and stared out the window and I and the oak tree and the clouds became one entity. I reached outwards, disbelieving this, space began to contract and everything drew together, the clouds seemed to be very close, as if they were being sucked inwards towards me, time stopped and my heart paused. I tried to breathe but couldn't. Then a thick web of blue and yellow globular pulsing energy wove around my hands and it formed a bridge to the branches of the oak tree which then lit up with a terrible bellow that broke my ears. The tree and sky and I became One.

I died.

Falling. Falling. Falling. Falling forever. Utter darkness. No matter where I looked, eternity was in all directions and I was nowhere. I had to do something. I called for help.


Something was wrong. Hot was cold and light was heavy and outside was inside out and up was down. Every extreme was backwards simultaneously. I fell through the crack where opposites attract. On this side, were strange creatures that filled me with fear and I wanted to flee.

I suddenly knew how to escape. I called Pegasus, not with a voice but my mind, for I couldn't be heard down here, deep in the Outer Darkness.

A star appeared in the distance. It came closer and closer, it was a group of stars, they took shape and the shape grew until it was the Winged Horse, mane aflame, fire in the eyes, the silver neck laced with lightning bolts. I clutched the neck of the passing being and we lunged forwards. Upwards, the light grew and so did the pain, it hurt, returning, the brighter the light the greater the pain. I almost let go. A voice said, "Feeling pain means you are alive".

My father was yelling at me. I couldn't hear him too well at first and stared at his frightened face in disbelief that he was here, too. Then I saw the ceiling. I was home. The place smelled like a fire had happened. My mother was outside the room, clutching the baby with a look of horror on her face. The oak tree smoldered and curls of smoke rose from it, the storm was over. I was alive again.

Never again, to sleep secure in bed at night. Lightning.


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