Writing me Down

Thursday, June 30, 2005


The storm started when we were eating baked spuds in the Burnt Stump. Flashes of lightning and then heavy rain slashing out of a silver-grey sky. As we got in the car and started to drive onto the M69, the motorway turned into a river obscuring the white lines. The wiper blades were racing busily across the screen and still we couldn’t see. Jagged lightning struck the ground in every direction. I folded my arms tightly across my midriff as if they could provide protection.

We finally reached the edge of the huge storm cloud, but it seemed to lurk on our left shoulder as we continued our journey. By the time we reached home, we found ourselves driving back into it.

It still took an hour or so to break. When it did, it was spectacular. The forks of lightning, like the roots of an uprooted seedling, were outlined in magenta and turned the sky a bubble-gum pink. Jagged flashes struck the ground at regular intervals, but also forked across the sky, meeting each other in cat’s cradle patterns. Sheet lightning lit the whole sky with a strangely cold light.

The rain arrived, bouncing off roads and rooftops, hurtling from gutters, pounding the leaves. Then just as suddenly, it stopped. The sky was tinged with a yellow-orange luminosity. The silence was absolute, and pregnant with tension. Lightning crackled around 360 degrees, and the thunder followed immediately, grumbling and hurling furniture to the floor as it circled around us. We were right in the eye of a storm that was several miles wide and heaven only knows how high. The silence, that held breath of a silence, provided the stage for the most incredible electrical activity I’ve seen for a long time. I gave myself up to that energy. Lying on my back, I relaxed and felt it fill me, making every limb tingle. It was strangely like meditation.

Bruised yellow storm cloud
Held breath of seething silence
Pink roots slash earthwards.


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