I love a good storm. The fizz and boom in the air. The sense of awe in the power of a lightning strike. It makes perfect sense to me that our ancestors would venerate this energy, make idols of nature’s strength.
I love the feeling after the storm has passed; the air now lighter and purer. It smells fresher. The mind feels less fuzzy. Everything is calm and rejuvenated.
What I don’t like, is the feeling before a storm. The chaotic, swirling build-up. The stifling, oppressive air. The darkness.
Bring it on, I think. Rage as you will. We’ll breathe easier when you’ve finished raging.
Cubby is now terrified of storms. Always sensitive to sound, he cannot take the claps of thunder here, more powerful than any other place we’ve lived. And when his anxiety is up, when he can’t tolerate another assault, that is when the chime of nearby burglar alarms ring out in unison as houses are struck, foundations shaken.
We are just at the beginning of the stormy season here in Johannesburg, the lightning strike capital of the world. It is going to be a rough few months for our sensitive son.
His anxiety has swollen now that to the extent that it isn’t just experiencing a storm that scares him, like me, he can no longer stand the build-up. He’ll perseverate on the darkening skies, the thick clouds, that heavy air that he can’t describe but he feels all too much. But he doesn’t will on the inevitable, he just wants to escape from something that is everywhere.
It isn’t just storm season, we’re also raging through bidding season. We have no idea where we’ll be living next year, and trying to match up jobs with the schooling and therapeutic needs of our children is stifling. This time around it feels harder than ever before. Instead of excitement at the build-up to another transformation, I feel anxious about the inevitable life-altering changes that are coming our way. Like Cubby, I want to block it all out.
“It won’t hurt us, ” I tell us both, one stormy afternoon earlier this week.
I have no such need to comfort Pudding. Incredible, indomitable Pudding. She cavorts in circles as the storm rages outside, perhaps feeling the buzz in an entirely different way. Though her ears cannot tolerate mechanical and low-frequency noises, she seems to find natural sounds invigorating. She doesn’t tell me she enjoys the thunder, but her happy hum indicates it is an entirely welcome sensation.
I pick up Cubby, and copy Pudding’s patterns. At first she stops, curious as to the game. Then she carries on, and soon we are all laughing, as we dance around the room, forgetting all about what is happening outside our walls.
Bring on the storm. Let it rage as it will. My girl shows us how to frolic and laugh as though the sun is always shining through crashing changes, and remember the excitement of a fresh calm that will be ours soon.