Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Swedish storm cloud.  Not my own picture -I wish!
Well, you know I like weather. But I find it very hard to like heat and humidity, of which we've been having plenty. So I was glad the air was just a little cooler this morning. As I sat reading in the garden the clouds, God's ambassadors as Mary Oliver calls them, gathered in heaps, rolls and swells. The breeze freshened. I tipped back my folding chair and watched the colours marbling the darkening sky. Soon the grey underside of a cumulonimbus cloud was overhead - amazing to think of the energy and weight just above me, reaching up perhaps to the very edge of weather.  Dogs barked, swifts screamed and then the thunder began.

I put away what I was doing and, just as I always did in my schooldays when there was a storm (once I'd discovered T S Eliot) I read What The Thunder Said.Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata - Give, Sympathise, Control.  I remember how those words struck me (I was an impressionable, some might unkindly say pious, child) as expressions of our relationship with God - and I listened for their echoes in the rumbles of thunder. I still believe that, and perhaps now understand it a little more deeply: we first encounter God as giver - a sense of gratitude at the wonders of creation; we experience God's compassion, often mediated through the care of others as we grow into relationships; somewhere along the line we are invited and challenged to allow God to be in control of our lives. A resonance there, perhaps, of the dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises?

An idea for an Examen after a stormy day: what have I been given today? Where have I shown, and received, compassion? Have I lived in acknowledgment that God is in control?

And after the thunder came the rain - at first just a few heavy, precious drops, then more... and more. I hurried to put the books and technology under cover and then went back and walked in the garden (the neighbours already have grave doubts about my sanity so I don't care any more...)  My coffee grew more diluted as I watched geometric ripples on the birdbath and spiders curious to see what was shaking their webs.  Then the clouds sailed on by and the rain stopped. Not enough to quench the parched grass and earth, but it did make them smell sweet.

Do follow the links and read the poems!


  1. Great description. I like thunder, too, and sometimes walk in the yard in the rain.

  2. Thanks, Barb, and welcome back! I was terrified of thunder storms as a child until my father explained the science... Now I love them (though my dog doesn't). A storm is such a blessing after hot, humid weather - and walking in the rain when it's been so hot is blissful!


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