There are some childhood memories that I’ve thought about quite a bit recently – vivid memories of the storms at the family summer house. I remember that the worst of the storms almost always seemed to keep away from the island we lived on, hammering the lake but sparing us as if there was some hidden barrier protecting our home.
I enjoyed sitting on my own down by the rocks at the shore, watching the lightning over the lake. It poured down, but the rainwear kept me dry and allowed me to just sit there and take it all in. It was powerful and majestic. The warm rain against my face, the wind blowing the treetops, the roaring sea beneath my feet. The air was alive with a million water drops making the sea boil. Lightning cut lines between a grey sky and the horizon, and thunder danced between the islands. It was exciting, but at the same time calming.
I was alone on that rock, but nature itself opened up and embraced me. It was all around me, and it said “This is what I am. I touch everything, and I am the touched. I am the raging sea and the beating heart. And you are part of me.”
That was many years ago. If it would rain right now I doubt I’d even notice it. Living in a city is much like being immersed in a cocoon. Protected. Sanitized. Air conditioned. Planned. Life here is homogeneous.
Each and every one of us have the wonderful opportunity of being alive and sentient, and we get to experience this on a fantastic planet. It’s got sunshine and pitch black nights, heat and cold, breezes and storms, rain and hail. Trees reaching for the skies and mountains large as gods. And yet we choose to live in cities filled with asphalt and malls and traffic lights and 7-11s.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the city and everything it promises. But the cityscape has been my horizon for many years, and I think I’m getting ready to face the elements again.