Sunday, July 02, 2006

When Skies Turn Dark

I don’t like storms anymore. There was a time I found the crash of thunder, the pounding of heavy rain, the rush of a wild wind exhilarating. No longer.

We had a thunderstorm today. Nothing serious, and God knows we needed the rain. Yet I still felt my anxiety level rising, found it difficult to settle down to work.

I’d been through hurricanes before Katrina and Rita. One memorable fall after I bought my house here, we had two storms hit in a week. My yard had grade problems I hadn’t gotten around to fixing, and as I watched the water build up against the wall outside my office window, I realized I needed to do something. So I pulled on my gumboots, grabbed a shovel, and went outside to dig a ditch and drain the water away from the house. Danielle was yelling, “Mama! You’re crazy!  It's 1:00 in the morning. In the middle of a hurricane!" But it needed to be done, and it was only a Category One hurricane, after all.

I’m not sure which of our two recent hurricanes, Katrina or Rita, was responsible for this shift in my reaction to storms. Katrina was the more devastating storm, but as I listened to Rita lash Sam’s Baton Rouge apartment, I knew my home was going into that second hurricane with half its roof gone. Would the blue tarps Steve had nailed down hold? Would Rita destroy what Katrina had left?

Of course, that drama had a happy ending: Steve’s tarps kept the house safe (although I did walk out of the apartment at the end of the storm to find my VW sitting in the middle of a veritable lake of floodwaters). But an unexpected legacy of those two dark, anxiety-ridden events is this, this twist of irrational fear when the skies turn ugly and thunder rumbles.

Will I ever get over it? Perhaps, in time, the anxiety will lessen. But I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy storms again.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm also finding myself enjoying thunderstorms less these days, although it remains to be seen how I'll feel once we're relocated and I can set out on my rear deck and watch the storm.