Rain on a Tin Roof

Raindrops and a surprise.

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Raindance

One night a shaman stood in a field, barefoot. The ground was riddled with cracks. He scratched at the dirt a couple of times with the toes of his right foot. A scorpion crawled up from between the cracks in the soil and the shaman grinned as it scurried across his feet. He squatted and placed his left palm in its path. Lifting it, he watched the scorpion’s pincers wave in the air as it sat in his hand, the starlight glinted slightly off its black exoskeleton. He let it go and stood again. The eight stars of Orion’s bow moved into view overhead. He closed his eyes again, and slowed his breathing. His diaphragm expanded as his breathing deepened. The aroma of the air entering his nostrils became heavy, dusty, the scent of an approaching storm. Eyes still closed, he could hear, or thought he could hear, the first drops of water descending through the air, traveling down from thick, dark clouds. They were large drops and they stung a little when they hit his forehead. Lightning danced from cloud to cloud and back. Seconds later its report reached his ears. The rain hit the ground around him like a high-pitched, but muted drumroll. He felt dirt, still dry, fly up from a raindrop and land on his foot. The drops came faster, and he began to feel the dirt moisten. Then mud began to squish up between his toes. There was a second thunderclap, and silence. The shaman opened his eyes. The red star Betelgeuse, which makes up Orion’s right shoulder, was now directly overhead. He began to walk across the dry earth and plant stubble.

Roughly a day later, a half-foot of rain fell on the area.

Most of us don’t have that depth of connection with the water element. Our world is concrete, paved. We spend a chunk of our lives riding, commuting. We schedule things around the weather. Rain is many times an inconvenience. While it’s irrigating fields and our yards it’s making the roads slick. It serves both as a blessing and a danger. We’re not standing on raw land feeling mud squish between our toes. We’re not even standing in our backyards feeling that. We’re driving or riding home in it, probably at night…a thousand things on our minds. In one part of our thoughts we are happy to not have to water our lawns and gardens for a bit. In another part of our thoughts we know we’re going to have to get out in this slop shortly and slosh our way to the door. It’s a borderline love-hate and there’s no escaping it if we continue our urban, rat-racy lives.

I still complain about the rain. I don’t like driving in it, day or night. And living in mild drought areas, when I complain someone is always there to remind me that we ‘need’ the rain. And we do. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over wishing that I didn’t have to get out in it. Maybe the key to that is pausing the rat-race itself. I think what I’ll start doing is to stop and stand in the rain for a couple of minutes before I open my umbrella. I’d rather be on that open field, but until that becomes my reality it’ll have to remain the stuff of vacations. I need to feel the connection to the water, to be happy when it comes, even if the circumstances aren’t what I’d prefer.

Today’s card: Page of Swords

wp-1467314829426.jpgA young man stands holding a sword in what appears to be a striking/defensive pose. His face is red from the effort or he could be sunburnt. His hair and the trees behind him to his right indicate that the wind is pretty high. The sky is blue and there are large clouds in the distance. There is a body of water, perhaps a bay, and the waters appear turbulent.

This is someone in a fight, an argument, disagreement with someone and they’re used to defending their position. The redness of the face indicates that whatever is happening is pretty intense right now. Most of the arguments and conflicts people get involved in are overblown. This is probably something trivial that will resolve itself once you step away from it. Think of the birds at the top of the card. They’re not concerned with any of this. They’re up high enough that even the winds which are tossing the sea and bending palm trees, aren’t of much consequence. Things are too intense right now. Let it go. All of it. There will be time later to discuss rationally whatever points of disagreement you might have. This is a time to seek calm.

Sitting in the silence

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The power went out sometime around 2am, and has been out for about the last two and a half hours. I have to do everything by candlelight to get ready for work. I have six burning right now. The tealights won’t burn as long, but are better than the votive in the kitchen that keeps pooling wax and drowning it’s flame.

It’s kind of nice not having the 60hz buzz of the electricity and everything that is plugged in. I can just hear the storm and whatever traffic is going by outside. Other than not having cedar floors and a wood-burning stove it reminds me a little of the cabin at King’s Canyon National Park in California.

This is in no way similar to the days- and weeks-long outages that many suffer under every year. I remember it being out for over 24 hours a few years ago, but that’s been the worst I’ve experienced living in Austin. I wish I could sit here until sunrise, but my shift starts at about that time. So we’ll have to end our hour of camping here.

Preparing for the Winter Bug-in

3-Day BagIn the last five years I’ve had to spend a couple of nights at the hotel across the street from my job. Texas doesn’t handle really cold winters well. A good three day snow can shut us down while places like Ohio would be bustling with plows and salt and the roads would be open again in a few hours. They’re used to that. While we’re used to triple-digit summers.

February gave us our first and last inclement weather days and a couple of us camped out in the hotel Thursday and Friday nights. By the weekend the slushy stuff had melted and dried and we were left with the sandy/salty stuff all over the place including our cars.

I usually keep a duffel bag of clothes and a toiletry kit in my car year-round. I didn’t restock it after the days 9 months ago. I think I still had one change of clothes where I usually keep two. I reloaded it on Labor Day because of the chance that we might have to evac. because of the fires. Now the fires were quite a ways down the road and the chance of us needing to leave was very remote. But I’d have to help other people get their stuff together and that process would go more smoothly if mine is already taken care of.

We were still baking then so I didn’t pack any winter stuff. Now that we’re finally in November I decided to get the bag ready for the cold. I’m not packing for a bug out situation. The ice usually clears up in a couple of days and I’m betting that society and the economy will be as intact as they are now.

Bag Contents:

2 changes of clothing
Several pairs of socks
Several pairs of underwear
Belt
Suspenders
Toiletry kit
Knit hat
Scarf
Gloves

I keep a first aid kit in my messenger bag but I’m going to start adding first aid supplies to the toiletry kit. I’ll also be adding meds and supplements plus some protein bars and the extra stainless water bottle.

Again this is for what Nutnfancy would call ROL or Rule of Law times. I still need to put together a full 72 hour kit. I probably need a few more items and a backpack that can hold it. The thing is in an evac. situation you don’t want to have to repack a bunch of stuff that is already packed.