Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Thunderstorms

There is something so essential about summer thunderstorms.

I remember back in college, during one of those tortuously delicious summers when most everyone was gone and the city felt like it was mine and mine alone. I was living with a bunch of guys in a dilapidated 3-story house somewhere off central campus. Between all the pot-smoking, the evening cookouts, and the beer-soaked laughter, there was always the summer rains. It was like an unspoken ritual for us; we would be drawn by air that was stung with the sweet smell of earth and lavender and by the sounds of distant thunder. We would sit on the porch of that dilapidated house on a couple of faded couches and watch the storms come in. In simple silence. The rain would soak the streets, the lighting would split the sky and the thunder would be violent and precious. And I was free.

I thought about those days yesterday. I had been biking all day around the national mall, stopping occasionally to read a copy of The Alchemist. I had read the book before, but given my renewed commitment to simplifying my life, the message of the book has taken on a whole new meaning. Before I knew it a storm had come in and I was completely soaked. Scampering to the back of the Jefferson Memorial, I watched bands of rain soaking the grass as tourists, like sheep, ran every-which way. I suddenly thought about those days in college, about the laughter of friends, and about the hushed silence of rain-soaked memories. Looking up at the darkened sky I calmly walked down the steps to the grass. The rain was warm and welcoming. And I was free again.

13 comments:

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

It's so nice to walk out in the rain :-) I used to fuss about my hair (I AM a girl at heart) until we've started camping and spending more time outdoors that is....

We did a music fest in south Florida and John went out walking.... then this horrendous rain storm came out of nowhere.... back of my mind I thought, "wow, he's gonna be PISSED!!".... so here he comes, soaking wet... but instead of mad, he grabbed a bar of soap, stripped down and showered in the rain... one of the best showers he'd had that weekend :-)

Sorry, just a story to let ya know that sometimes walking in the rain does make you feel free :-)

nea said...

i just found your blog by linking from your comment on Changing Rhythm. what an amazing journey and one i have contemplated as well. my husband says "bookmark his blog!" so i will. linking to you from my blog. good luck!

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Nature is bigger than we are. We can feel small and lost in it. We can feel amazed and invigorated by it. Nature has the power to surprize us and delight us. I, like you, Jack, like the brief moment of feeling free. If only it could last forever.

Jack said...

Miles to go,

Sounds like John had a genuine moment of freedom :) And you know, it's not just the rain. There are so many simple things in life that are wonderous and true. I'm still in the beginning of my journey, but I think i'm heading to a place where life is valued by how one appreciates those moments in time where we are all truly free.

Jack said...

Nea,

Thanks for the kudos. Definitely check back in when you can. It's always nice to hear good things from people when you are in a firestorm of change and transition.

Take care,

J

stranger in a strange van said...

hey jack,
i just read all your posts and wanted to say congrats on the new life. i'd like to know what sparked this massive change for you. i've never understood people who lived the life you are leaving, so to get inside your brain would be very interesting to me, and others i'm sure.
welcome to the wild side!

Jennifer F. said...

Wow, beautiful post. Thank you.

Jack said...

stranger,

Wow, this is quite an honor. I've been following your blog for a while now and are enthralled.

I guess I've always been into simplicity, but was sidetracked for a while. The something 'clicked' and it all made sense. It's probably something I will treat in a future post.

BTW, I think you should take the room, even for just a little bit. You could always go back to the van if need be...

Jack said...

Thanks Jennifer!

Elizabeth said...

Loved this post. Thunderstorms are one of those elemental things that make you feel alive, I think. Yesterday afternoon, in the middle of a heat wave, I heard thunder (it seems rarer on the west coast than in the midwest) - and took the pup outside to cool off. We ran and played in the grass, in the rain, with the sound of thunder around us.

C.S. said...

Maybe you should become a writer when you find your freedom? You have talent, and I enjoy reading about your unfolding life story...

--Cara

Jack said...

Elizabeth and Cara,

Thanks for the comments. :) Thunderstorms ARE poetic, aren't they...

J

acousticlaydee said...

The rain is always very calming and cleansing. Looking forward to your next post.