The sky is gray today. The air is both hollow and heavy: as of yet, it holds nothing, nothing but the wind that rustles the branches and knocks the swings against the trees. Now it holds nothing, but it will. That knowledge makes it heavy. Oppressive. It is reminding us that soon, this realm we have moved through so easily will no longer be ours, not while the elements dance and rage. It’s shouting a warning: A storm is coming. A storm is coming.
In the pastures, Farmer Gustavson will be hustling to finish his chores. He won’t let the chickens out today, nor the cows; he’ll lay out feed for them instead, safe indoors. His son will be hauling fresh hay for the horses to bed in, and oats and mash to eat. They cannot roll in the fresh soft grass today. Today they only have hay and oats and mash. Mrs. Gustavson will be loading the wood-box, ensuring they are not trapped in darkness. A storm is coming.
In the town, people are glancing at the gray sky with faces drawn and tense. Their voices are a low murmur as they discuss the clouds and the winds. Mothers are holding their children back today: better to be cooped up at home than cooped up in the schoolhouse. No one will be able to study anyway. They bring down the checkers and the puzzles, hoping to keep their minds off the things outside. It won’t work, it never works, but it is better to keep the mind occupied than to sit in silence and wait. A storm is coming.
Everywhere you go, people will be preparing: securing their homes, battening down the hatches. They have politely cleared the stage for the haunting song of the wild gale and the mad dance of the rain pounding the earth, and have left the earth and the trees and the sky to be the only witnesses. They will tune it out, they will block it out, they will hide behind sturdy walls and empty glass while the grand play plays itself out. A storm is coming. . . but they are not its audience.
They fear the storm. Its power is one they cannot comprehend. Oh, they can explain it with their words and their logic and their diagrams – but in their hearts they do not understand. They have forgotten that the sky only reflects the world, that the earth and the pasture and the town have been painted a tired gray long before the sky mimicked them, their colors washed out under the dust and the smog and the nameless feeling that rises when one must trudge on day after day after day. Then, almost when it seems as if the world must be grey forever, then the air turns hollow and heavy and the winds beat out a warning: A storm is coming.
Yes, they will stay inside. In the violence of the storm, the world is not theirs; and when it has lived out the warning and finally retired with a sigh, the people will emerge from their shelters, blinking in the sudden sunlight. Look! The world has been washed clean: the earth and the trees and the sky have shaken themselves awake and put on their best clothes. The dust and the smog and that terrible horrible gray have been cast aside in favor of clear blues and verdant greens and laughing yellows and vibrant reds. They will gaze about in wonder: Can this be our world? Yes, it is our world, but our world remade anew.
So let the sky be gray and the air hollow. Let the wind beat the swings against the trees in warning. Let Farmer Brown hurry about his chores, and the townspeople secure their homes. A storm is coming – a wild storm, yes – a wondrous storm, one that will howl and rage and wildly dance. Let it dance! For when it is done, we shall have our world back, and shall see it with new eyes and a new feeling in our hearts.
I do not fear the storm.
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