Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to weather a storm

Defy the dark sky, head for the beach.

Never mind that the clouds are grey and heavy, never mind that the rain hasn't stopped - secure your backpack, your hoodie, and your best friend, hop on a bus and make for whichever beach you can.

Surrender to slowness. Fight the urge to explore. After your initial act of defiance, let the weather take control. When the downpour gets even stronger, find a place to bunk in, and bunk in. Cocoon yourself in a hammock, and when the wind pushes it, don't resist its languid sway.

Read something - even if it is cheesy lines painted on the ceiling. Sure, most of them will be full of schmaltz, but there are real nuggets of wisdom in there too. Take turns reading them out loud with your best friend. Keep talking - about the important things, and the stupid things, and the sad things, and the funny things.

Enjoy the symphony of your voices, and the leaves rustling, and the rain falling, and, in the distance, waves crashing. Let this lull you to sleep.

When you wake up, take a moment and notice the finer details - the trees so unusual for a seaside town, the hazy sort of sheen these unusual trees lend to the surroundings, the fact that even in a storm on a seaside town in the middle of nowhere, a game of basketball is still serious business.

When you feel like you've taken enough time, head closer to the shore. It should be easy to find - just follow the sound of the waves.

Settle down where you're close enough to the water, but not too close to get pulled in by the current. If you get wet, let it be from the raindrops.

Notice how the sand has turned ash gray to match the clouds, how the water is not that characteristic blue, but a wash of grey and brown.

Feel the sand pelting your skin as the wind sweeps them into the air. Taste the tang of saltwater, feel the harshness as it hits your face. 

Realize that this is how angry the sea is at the moment, and how it is still beautiful, and more dangerous than ever. 

Notice how easy it is in this weather for things to get blown away. Accept that you can lose what you have in one violent gust of wind. Keep a firm grip on whatever you don't want to lose. Run after it when it gets whisked away. Take advantage of the few calm seconds between blows to grab it.

Heave a sigh of relief when you have it within your grasp again, and be thankful that for however turbulent this storm might be, its ferocity only comes in waves.

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