It rained last night- one of those hard, summer rains, front coming in a riot of red and yellow on the weather radar. We were inside, and heard the rain pelting the windows, the crashing of thunder. Lightening charged the air and we all looked in askance at the lights, hoping the power wouldn’t go out.
Storms make us worry about our physical things. The weather radio says damaging winds and rain, injury to roofs, siding, cars likely. We had a new roof put on our house not too long ago, and this spring we finally had the siding replaced on the right side of our house, saving to redo the rest at a later date. Outside, my new-to-me car is parked, the first car I’ve driven that isn’t a hand me down or was purchased cheaply, in slight desperation. Guard these things from the weather. Ah, but they are only things, and they can be replaced.
It’s funny (funny-odd, not funny ha-ha) how the weather mirrors the mood, sometimes; how it sways as we humans swell and sway. Years ago, at the funeral of someone gone too soon, the skies were gray, the rain drooled down the car windows as the tragedy played itself out. Last night, a storm between humans mirrored the storm outside. Perhaps our human nature is more closely linked with physical nature than we thought.
Driving home, the storm just passed. The roads were wet, reflecting the street lamps, night hugging in, all around. I grip the wheel, being careful, and stop in a sea of red tail lights. Traffic is stopped, and it could be because of construction, but we know it’s because of a wreck. We inch on, and first we see the red and blue police lights, and then we see the red pickup, front pointed toward the embankment, having slid off the road. A close call- the truck was not in the embankment, or tangled in the road side trees, after all.
But then we go further, several feet, and there is a black car, smashed, upside down, splayed in an unnatural diagonal across the road. We gasp. I try not to slow down and gawp. “Those people are probably dead,” my husband says, and I whisper back, “I know, I know.”
How much of life is a series of near misses? How fortunate I feel that I have not yet drawn the black card, how I have never really experienced true tragedy, and how any heartbreak I’ve ever experienced is nothing in the comparison of some. How much of it is luck, how much of it is fate, and how much of it is my diligent effort to stay out of the way, to fly right? Sometimes even if you have the wings you need, and you’re steering right, a sudden storm appears, and maybe you’ll be able to soar over it, but eventually the storm will suck you down into its clutches. The question is, are we strong enough to power through it?