For some reason, I have never really been afraid of storms. I can remember, as a child, when a storm would come, my mother would gather us up (kids, dogs, cats, everyone) and run to the middle of the house. She needed for us to be as far away from windows and doors as possible. We would all huddle in the hall next to the bathroom and she would sit and rock and cry. My inclination was quite the opposite. I wanted to run toward the door, fling it open and be right in the middle of it. The lightning was fascinating. My grandma would tell me stories of the Cherokee Thunderers…they were fierce beings, but I was never made to feel afraid of them. I saw them as something otherworldly and magickal.
Still now, when I feel the electricity that comes with a thunder and lightning storm, I am drawn to it. I feel the need to be right in the middle of it. When I hear storms brewing, it brings to mind what I learned in school…”the calmest place is in the eye of the storm.” Right there in the middle of the storm is the calmest, most still air. It is funny to think of it this way, but right there in the middle of what may be a hurricane, is the lowest amount of pressure. That area is where there can be an opening for light to come in and where the breezes are light.
I have been surrounded by people this week enveloped in storms. It is like I have said before, people are attracted to the magick they see in others. I have been called on by folks in the midst of breakups, depression, anxiety. My advice? Learn to ride the storm. The one thing that I have noticed regarding humans, is that they always want to fist-fight the wind.
Watching people weather the storms in their lives reminds of the rodeo. It is much like bull riding. Why in the world would anyone want to climb on the back of a bull and see how long they can stay on? A sense of accomplishment? Maybe. To prove that they can? Possibly. They reason that cowboys will climb onto the back of a bull to see how long they can stay on…the prize at the end of the ride. So you just climb on the back of that bull, sit down and do nothing but wait for the ride to end, right? No. Your body has to follow the motion of the bull. You must be aware of the movements the bull is making and mirror that to some extent. You definitely have to be flexible.
I was walking Friz through the complex this morning. Again, we were greeted by the sight of green dusty cloak and a familiar mop of dirty brown hair. He sat in the same spot he was last week. It tore at my heart to see him sitting alone. Isn’t that how most of us try to face the challenges and hurts in our lives, though? Alone. His face lights up when he sees little Friz saunter up to him. Friz’s whole body shook with joy seeing our friend against the early morning darkness. The green wizard scooped him up and leaned into the thousands of licks that invaded his cheeks.
We walked and talked as he carried Friz close to his chest. He talked about how hard the past week has been for him….like a part of his heart had been ripped out. He said that it felt like walking with one leg and no staff. Sleeping was hard because he had always fallen asleep listening to Calliope breathing. I looked in his eyes and noticed that the sparkle that is normally visible was faint. His eyes looked weak. As we moved closer to the center of the woods, he seemed relieved to see the canape of branches and leaves above us. He lay down in the midst of the leaves and pine needles. Friz took the opportunity to crawl up onto his belly and nestle.
I never know how often the green wizard gets to eat, so this morning I had made a cottage cheese carton full of grits and eggs and cheese. I handed it to him with a bottle of juice. He laughed out loud, “Who would have ever thought that I would have run into another magickal being here in the middle of this condominium complex…much less two?” I saw him wink at Friz as he said it. He ate slowly….savoring every bite. He shared a bite with Friz here and there. We talked about magick. We talked about animals. We talked about friendships. We laughed about unlikely friendships. I sat there as he rode the winds of his own storm. I watched as he released the pain of loss.
It amazes me how much magick is contained in the things that we seem to take for granted. The Hedge witches of old knew this. Most of their magick involved the things found in everyday life. Herbs, animals…the things that were right outside their doors. Who would know that tears could be such a powerful potion. It is the magick that stirs inside of us that could very well bring healing, peace of mind, understanding and courage.
I was taken back to my childhood today. I have written about Crazy Mary…the local homeless person in my hometown. Everyone was afraid of her…they always went the other way. I remember her smile as a five year old Weathered Wiseman hugged her. That memory washed over me today. As I wrapped my arms around the green wizard, I could feel the magick working. How many had turned the other way when they saw him? How many had kept from making eye contact? He had his own storms to ride out just like everyone else.
In all my years working at a vet, I have seen dogs with storm phobias out the wazoo. Thankfully, my dogs have never been afraid of thunder or rain. This afternoon, however, I was sitting on the sofa when a huge boom of thunder rang through the house. My cat, Merlin, sat straight up on the dining room table….I could see his eyes dilating. I began talking to him. “What’s wrong, Merlin? Everything is fine. Do you want to come and sit beside daddy?” With those words, this seventeen pound cat, who most of the time seems fearless, climbed onto the sofa beside me…leaned hard into my side, closed his eyes and purred. In the midst of his fear, he found that calm place….right there in the middle of the storm.