Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mama Bean often doesn't mind the 45 minute drive home at all

When I left work, the clouds were pale yellow. Fluffy in a cartoon way, the way that spells rain, and backlit by the setting sun, with bright white edges. An actual silver lining. A swoosh of cotton ball storm came out from the east. There were too many layers of weather happening at once. By the time I turned west, a thick rain cloud had squatted itself directly in front of the sun, its silver lining blazing like burning metal, sunlight streaming through cracks in the rafts of cloud, and to the north I saw the flat gray paintbrush of rain and wind, a backdrop for lightning. If I was the type of person who thinks saccharine things like, "This must be what Heaven looks like" that's what I would have been thinking. If I were that type of person...

It can be heart-rending to see that big sky every evening I drive home. When I am tired from giving to my work, and annoyed by some who take too much, and a little worried about what the night may hold, in terms of interrupted sleep, in terms of inane minute-counting, I don't have a mind big enough to really see so much sky. But my soul, emptied in the peculiar way that my soul-fulfilling work has (It's hard to explain, but I think parents understand. Is it weird to equate how I care for my patients is like how a mother loves a child?) is desperate for the view. And so I pull over to the side, internally berate myself for leaving my fancy new camera at home, and drink it up.

The cartoon clouds around the sun are still white-edged, and the cotton swoop is bearing down, filtering out the heaven-streaks. Along the horizon, an edge of storm gray has gathered, is gathering, feeding into that north and east expanse of single layered heaviness. Below this bank, the sky is orange, dusty. It is the sky of the setting sun, if the clouds weren't getting in the way. It is a reminder that the sky still happens behind, above, around the clouds. We may not see it, except in glimpses, but somewhere on that side of the storm, someone is enjoying a gloriously bright sunset. I have people on the other side of the storm, and I send up a little prayer for them, and drive on.

When I turn northward, the storm is all I can see, but I turn to follow what's happening to the light. It is progressively crowded out, now only a shaft of yellow is reaching onto the storm. It is like a flashlight seeing how far it can reach into the forest. It shows the texture of the storm - this one is woolen and slate, and if I could, I would curl up in it to sleep. I want to turn west again before the light is totally gone - when I get there, all I can see is that strip of orange below the cloud bank, and then, the sun comes below the storm. All above and behind me is gathering dark, but the sun is still setting, and I don't understand how I can be blinded by light and dark at the same time. Everywhere I look, I can't see. By the time I reach the city, the streetlights have turned on. And the lightning has begun.

The weather is making people drive like idiots, or moreso. No one is doing the speed limit, they are all gawking. I scoff (only a little) because what can you see of the sky in the city? It is bounded, by roads and light noise, and buildings buildings everywhere. Even the low profile of this Prairie Valley City is enough to get in the way of Prairie Sky grandeur. I just want to get home, before the rain starts (oh please let the rain start.) My soul is full now, I want to see my children.

The rain starts. In sheets, driven. The back spray off the pavement hazes the road, and there is steam, because the ground was hot today. I can hear my garden sobbing in relief. My husband worries how my tomatoes will handle it, but I don't care.

It's amazing what can change in forty-five minutes.


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  2. I don't like commuting. That's why I live a 10 minute walk away from work...but your post makes the commute to work sound actually fun and relaxing!