I was just about to go to bed. I opened the back door to let my pup back inside when I heard it: wind like that carries sounds from miles away.
I stepped out into ninety-four degrees of humid, billowing air: clouds lit up from within by the light of the almost-full moon, and in seven different directions, the paparazzi-like flashes of lightning in the distant desert.
Honestly, I’d been waiting for this. I couldn’t imagine spending the summer in this tiny town of my childhood without hoping for the chance to have an intimate conversation with monsoon season.
I put in my headphones, and assumed a cross-legged fetal position. When the rain started, my cheeks were already wet and my eyes were warm and grateful. Tears turned into laughter as the sky flashed pink (pink!) and the rain fell so hard it stung.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but when I finally came inside my hair was soaked and my clothes held the shape of my body as I’d sat huddled inside myself during the rainstorm. Almost every part of me was wet except my very middle, which I’d been protecting best.
That was weeks ago now, but today, the sky is dark again.
I’ve been praying a lot lately. And I’ve been saying a lot of thank yous. I returned from a few weeks of traveling/working just a few days ago, and it’s hard to describe how and why, but I returned as a roomier version of myself.
And so: praying. Because when you scoop out old wires and outdated programming to make room for what you want, there is the anticipatory sense of Life needing you to be ready for it.
It seems the whispering Truth is this: we can’t expect the world to change around us. Our choices act like carving tools into the soft wood of our lives, shaping our days into something that reflects the way we see and wish to be seen. Our choices (when we make them humbly and honestly) act as reorganizers: our insides shift around our decisions, actions, responses — in preparation for what we are asking for. We say what we’re making room for with the way we choose to live.
And how we choose to love.
When we organize our lives from the inside out — airing out rooms that have been closed off inside us to be suddenly opened to the Light — the whole mechanism flows differently. Not just better, but more efficiently, and more sustainably.
Life stops feeling like suffering. Things stop feeling so confusing. We, by choosing, open ourselves up to the things we deeply, deeply long for. Our whole life becomes a prayer.
When I was a teenager visiting my big sister in this tiny desert town, she’d wake me in the middle of the night. “Lightning,” she’d say, and lead me sleepy-eyed outside to a chair on the front porch and a big cup of ice water waiting for me. In silence, we’d sit bare-legged watching the sky, sipping ice water — startled, nervous laughter shaking us when lightning would crawl across the sky like electric veins in the invisible body of the heavens, momentarily blinding us or striking so close our skin started to buzz.
Now, sixteen years later, I have that same giddy sense of waking up whenever a lightning storm passes through.
As I sit writing, the big tan umbrella has been fastened to the gate so the 75mph winds don’t carry it away. Facing the southern sky, there is a distinctive gray curtain shading the rocky skyline — a veil of rain out in distant desert. The pups have their keen noses turned eastward, eyes closed, mouths slightly open, tasting the air, and for a moment, I’m envious. What’d I’d give to know what’s what out here by the way it talks to my tongue.
It’s a diorama horizon — shades of aqua blue against slate gray clouds, partnering with sunlight breaking through and rocky outcroppings, telephone wires, and the few desert doves that haven’t abandoned the open air for safer environs are perched — silent and still. There is a blue tone to everything, and I can see the thin arm of lightning bridging heaven and Earth far enough away to feel safe, but close, so close.