On a stormy night

Thunderstorms are rolling through central Texas. I do have to leave one car out in the chaos, but it’s a little old and can handle it. The suspense is strange because we can watch the storms approach on radar. They look menacing, but will they really make it to Waco? We could use the rain, but we don’t need hail or strong winds, and we certainly don’t need tornados or damaging winds to knock down our homes, buildings, or trees. The fury of Mother Nature is quite humbling. She can manage to move enormous amounts of wind and rain, hail, and show us how weak and pathetic we really are. We put up all kinds of structures, pretending that they will last in spite of the weather and the passing of time. Putting up structures has been the story of mankind, but the ruins of those structures stand as mute testimony to the enduring power of Mother Nature to blow-off roofs, knock down trees, break windows, and shatter the dreams of builders and architects everywhere. In a sense, the normal state of any building or structure is a ruin. When we see or experience a building in its pristine or new, recently constructed state, we are experiencing the exception to the rule that all buildings will always end in a ruin. Whatever the architect’s original dream was, all buildings will always end up in an archeologist’s sketch book. Thunderstorms are an implacable metaphor for the destructive nature of time. The violence of lightening and wind, driving rain, are indicative of the giant forces that lie just below the surface of a beautiful spring day. Behind the moderate temperatures, blue skies, and light breezes lurk the life-changing destructive powers of nature. We make the error of thinking that we are in control with our beautiful homes, air-conditioning, and heating, but the sad truth is that this is nothing but hubris and wishful thinking. A beautiful day is really a simulacrum for peace and tranquility, and we all know that peace and tranquility are just a bit of wishful thinking that precede a dark night of disasters and broken dreams. Stormy nights like this one are made for contemplating the darker side of life, for thinking about the fragility of our plans, and how those plans can so easily go astray, run up on the rocks, go up in smoke. A stormy night is a reminder for everyone that we are not in control, and that all of our attempts to simulate control are both erroneous and pointless. We stand at the edge of a chasm without really knowing it or realizing it. We put on a good face, a mask of civility which hides the fear, the sadness, the doubts. A stormy night mirrors the internal chaos of each person–depression, melancholy, conflict, fears, and desire. Whether the rain and hail fall, whether the winds blow, whether the lightening strikes, is immaterial, it is the metaphor of the impending storm that matters. Who knows if it will ever rain again, but the threat is out there, the storm approaches, and everything is uncertain.