The photo is from 1978. My son, his truck. Behind him, my truck.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Storms (Three) Like a Moody God

Saturday, December 3, 1983

From a deep sleep I awake in darkness.  The power has gone out.  I don't know why, but whenever the electricity stops flowing in the night, I immediately wake up.  Maybe it's the sudden complete lack of light.  Or of background hum.  Or of magnetic force fields, to which we are subconsciously tuned.  Me, I'm betting on the force field theory, but when I say so, my friends always roll their eyes.

Through blackness I hear trees bending in the wind.  In the redwood forest, the sound is a rush: Rush-h-h.  Rush-h-h.  I throw on a bathrobe and step outside, barefoot, with a flashlight.  Rush-h-h.  Rush-h-h.  Groan… 

Yikes.  In the dark a tree is falling — that sickening sliding accelerating sound of branch against branch— and I'm standing out here.  Where is it?  Desperately I whip the flashlight beam in a circle above me.


Below the house, across the street.  An old redwood, diseased, damaged long ago by roadwork.  It brought down a utility pole.  A live wire dances, sparking.

Inside I call PG&E and the Fire Brigade, then return outside and place orange cones that I'd collected for soccer practice.  I stand in the road, flashlight bobbing, until the fire crew arrives.

Dawn finds me sitting at the table with two lit candles and a cup of steaming coffee, surrounded outside the window by sequoia, dozens thrusting at the sky.  My hand still shakes as I write:

Like a Moody God

Last night
when you threatened to kill me
I realized how much
I love you.
To you I am just another little beast
among the chipmunks and chickadees
who you nourish with seed
as you feed my spirit.
In your height you create the fog
and then drink it.
You are a lesson in forgiveness
as you shrug off abuse
for centuries;
in wrath
as you will finally drop devastation
with a final groan,
no apology.

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