Storm and Stress: Reaction to the People’s Voice

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

The storm grows throughout the night. Gusts of wind slap and pummel the side of the house with open palms and a horde of fists. It moans around the edges of the front door. The arms of my chair tremble with each blast.

I push the tip of my pen across a piece of paper, try to quiet the storm of voices inside my head. The world is sealed outside, my thoughts sealed within. An ant climbs onto the paper where I’ve written these last few words, bumps into the ink marks, recoils, bumps into them again, recoils again, and gives a wide berth thereafter to ink. I empathize with the ant. None of my words are the right ones. The damp animal scent of fear chases them into the darkness beyond the candle on my desk.

The power is out. The candle is a miniature sun. It creates light the same way the sun creates light, by consuming itself. But a candle burns faster, has a much shorter lifespan. It flickers in the drafts flowing through the house like ghosts.

The rain picks up its tempo and sounds like hundreds of nails thrown against the window behind me. Squalls beat against the glass as if the storm has gone mad. An image forces itself into my imagination – an image of the furious wind taking the house in its hands and shaking it.

I write until the candle gutters and I have just enough of its light to find my bed. I cannot sleep. Words swirl and dive and surface and sink. My useless eyes stare into the dark. My heart beats as if it is marching to its doom. The house shakes and shakes and shakes. Finally, bone-weary sleep overtakes me.

I dream a night-full of quicksilver dreams, of wild-haired crones, potent seers and wisdom that fades with dawn. The absence of wind awakens me. Emerging from the cocoon of sleep, I go outside.

Long fingers of light spread behind the mountains, the palm of the sun still hidden. The few stars left burn out. All that distant, distant past up there – before humans, before dinosaurs, before one-celled lumps of life began wriggling in the sea.

Clouds with gray weighted bottoms float behind the wake of the storm. Their fluffy tops begin to glow. Rooted to one spot like a sunflower, my head turns toward where the sun will rise. And I wait.

10 responses

  1. Wow, magical, nothing short of magical! I felt the vibration of every word uttered. Pity you found it necessary to change some of the wording as the point struck home, straight to the (my) heart. This world needs storytellers like you, one who can transport them to worlds of beauty seen and unseen. Thank you, my Friend. Hugs

  2. Wow!

  3. Reblogged this on Let it come from the heart and commented:
    This is a wonderful little story.

    1. Thank you so much, Laura. I’ve retitled it and changed some of the wording, so you might want to update. Thrilled that you’ve reblogged this. – Cheryl

  4. “None of my words are the right ones” – So not true. I love this posting – I can feel every word.

    1. Thank you so much. I worked hard on this one. But, always misgivings – I retitled the piece and changed some wording to make it more to the point.

  5. Always transported by your writing. Truly atmospheric!

    1. Hi Judi – thanks for your kind words. I’ve retitled it and changed some of the wording, since I wasn’t sure people would be getting the point. Will email you Juan’s phone number – it’s next on my to do list!

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