Thunder doesn’t always mean rain

I think I want to say something about the thunder.

I first heard it as kettledrums but corrected quickly–the roll is distant enough to smooth itself into a percussionist’s work. It’s still near enough to remind me to be wary; I’m not interested in intimately experiencing lightning. I’m told it’s monsoon season. Storms are to be expected, though we haven’t had one yet.

The dark is ominous. At the same time I’m happy to see it, happy to anticipate rain.

On my way back from lunch, I started telling my classmate about my ‘can’t-have-its.’ In the Lawrence family, ‘can’t-have-its’ are when you’re hungry, you open the refrigerator door, and nothing looks good to eat. Or it’s any analogous state of irritated dissatisfaction: something needs to be done, but be damned if I know what to do about it.

She conversationally problem-solved. “Are you going to the afternoon reading?” “What about taking some time for writing, to empty your head that way?” I settled on walking. Walking seems to be a solid default for all antsy writers.

As we reached our dorm hall’s landing, still chatting about this and that, we discovered we share a retreat center, a place not far from her home. Where I lived my first Ignatian retreat, four days of silence and structured reflection. Another dorm-mate happily heard us talking silence. Together we smiled about the time it takes to settle into silence, about waiting patiently on the repetition in our fidgety minds.

I stepped in my room thinking, “My mind felt this way at Montserrat.” Huh. Time to stop avoiding silence, and the storms silence sometimes brings. Time to walk the campus, alone.

When the thunder’s closer, the sound rips apart and shreds the air for a minute or more. It’s as if there’s nothing to stop it, not even the mountains. I didn’t expect thunder to be different here.

Compulsive metaphor-maker that I am, I claim the thunder for my inside tension. For my creative suspension so far this week. For my “what am I doing??” obsessiveness. For my Glen essay, where I wrestle with asking to be different and sought-after, and don’t find out what my colleagues think about it until Friday.

I don’t think my inner thunder will be any different than usual. But I’m willing to spend this week listening to it roll.

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