‒ Abrupt Tranquility –
I was awakened last night
by the sound of rain falling outside my window.
I lay motionless,
considering whether I was still under the enchantment of slumber,
or in the actual majesty of late-evening.
Thunder echoed deeply and softly in the distance,
slowly rolling in to occupy the space around me.
A symphony played gently on my window sill,
serenading me into a peaceful oblivion.
A smile reached my face as the heavens wept sweetly above me;
even in my repose did I appreciate
the miraculous and serene process of replenishment.
Clutching my pillow tightly and breathing in the pristine air,
I allowed the sound to carry me away into tranquility.
- Wade A. Walker -
September 1, 2004
September 1, 2004
I still remember that night almost a decade ago when I had the experience that prompted me to write this poem. I was soundly asleep when the raindrops started falling and the thunder pulled me out of unconsciousness. Those few moments, which I wrote about the next morning, were so surreal, yet almost tangible, and I can still recall the feelings and emotions of it today.
It has rained a lot this year, recently even more. There’s something sweet and beautiful to me about being lulled to sleep by the sound of rain, but waking up to it is especially unique and lovely. Perhaps it’s because there’s no softer, gentler way to be aroused from slumber than by distant rolling thunder and water droplets hitting your window. Or maybe it’s because you know that the night is still young, and you still have time to sleep; or that you get to listen to the rhythm of nature as you fall back into your dreams.
Each time I’ve experienced the relaxing calm of nighttime storms has been when I was lying alone in my own bed, and it was always particularly special to think that while the rest of the world was dreaming, I was able to wake, even for just a few moments, to appreciate nature’s splendor. In fact, I would say that being alone during those experiences made it somehow more meaningful to me, like a secret indulgence of which I only knew. I often relish peaceful moments to myself, such as the one I had that night so long ago.
Yet something deep inside me tugs at my heart and memory allowing me to imagine the same experience with someone else—someone I love. As the nighttime weather turns colder, it seems more people are guided into each other’s arms to brace against the chilled air of an approaching winter. Others are hunkering down for many long winters with the ones they love, as my mailbox fills with announcements for many upcoming autumn weddings.
I find myself in the midst of all those who are pairing off, confident that I am nowhere near ready for marriage, and not even desiring any kind of romantic relationship. Part of me says that being alone is okay, and that I am already getting well-used to spending my intimate, private moments alone. After all, alone is where I’ve had some of my most meaningful and profound insights. But again, somewhere within me, I feel like such experiences could be even more whole, more complete, if they were shared.
When I do give way to imaginative longings, in my mind’s eye I see different things. A porch swing, comfortably covered from the weather, with sheets of rain pouring down all around it; and two lovers, wrapped in a blanket and sharing the coupled warmth of their own entangled bodies. Or a cozy living room, completely dark except for the light of a crackling fire within a stone hearth; all is silent, too, except for the sound of rain drops and thunder outside as the two lovers contentedly share an overstuffed sofa and ottoman.
There are other scenes that pass through my mind, and they are all similar. They all remind me of what I love about fall, and rain, and thunder, and the safety of someone else’s arms. Fall is the perfect time for all of these—when the outdoors can still be comfortably enjoyed, while staying indoors is beginning to take on more appeal as the seasons change once more.
In my mind I am one of those enamored lovers. And the person I am holding is my perfect match, the one girl who complements me, and I her. Though I feel like I am not yet in a position to make that scene in my head a reality (when, in fact, the thought of love confuses and frightens me), it is something that I still hope for. I don’t know how close I am to that porch swing, or the house with the stone hearth; but I can feel the mist of the rain on my face as I rock quietly with a woman in my arms, and I can feel the warmth of fire and passion consuming me as I hold on to the one mortal person whom I hold most precious and dear above all others.
Maybe I’m making this all too complicated. Maybe I should just enjoy the rain and thunder while it lasts, before it quietly turns to sparkling snowflakes. Maybe fall is more about colored leaves and hoodies, bonfires and homemade soup. But you have to admit that even those things are much more enjoyable when you can share them with someone you love.
Love is special, and it can’t be rushed. I know that, at least. I want to get it right the first time, and I want the first time to be the only time. I’m confident that the day will come when I find her. And it will be as beautiful as waking up to the sound of rain and having my doubts and fears washed away. It will be as sweet and overwhelming as the sound of gentle thunder clearing my head and giving rest to my soul. But until then I’m content to wait.
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