I've seen days like this before, and so have you. I wake up in the morning, look out the window and see the grey. It's cloudy, overcast, but with dead grey clouds. The sun isn't at all visible, though some light filters through. A grey light that almost seems like it's not light at all but something else. I go out my front door to get in my car and head off to work, as I'm followed by the greyness. The facility I work in, where I drive a forklift all day, blends easily into the grey. The grey haze and the building almost seem to flow together into one dull hanging mist of colorless-ness. I swipe my time card into the slot and enter into the mood of the day. Everyone can feel it, you can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. Some more than others, and some know they feel it and some don't, yet it's there, all around everyone. Sometimes the greyness lasts all day, or for several days. Life seems to move slowly, to a constant low humming sound.
The clouds fill up all things, those dead clouds that don't rain, (there is always color in the rain) they don't give anything at all, they can only take. They take the light and make it into something else. These are strange days, but not at all uncommon. There's something about those days and its not just the clouds or the haze, it's something else that I can't quite put my finger on. Like it's the personality of a day. A nowhere day. A nothing day. A what-the-fuck day. The sun even sets without notice on a day like that, and the darkness comes easy. And even the darkness isn't black, just a darker grey.
I know it's not the clouds fault, because they can seem like pure white puffs of cotton hung on a glowing blue ceiling, on other days. And even on a stormy day, when they won't allow you to see any sky at all, they still roll in, in shades of blue and purple and fill the air with a sense of power. In fact very few things on earth give off as much color and power as a brewing storm in the evening, except maybe the sea. The sky darkens in those shades of purple and pink as the power of thunder fills your ears. A streak of pure white-blue power fills the air, raising the hairs on the back of your neck, and the air explodes with sound as if the god's are fighting. The clouds give way and the rain comes in wind blown sheets, turning dry scorched ground into a swamp and quenching the thirsty earth. Nothing grey here in this cycle of life. There is nothing as beautiful or as frightening, as capable of giving life or destruction, as the power of a storm upon the earth. It can take your home or save your crop. And the very same power that lights up your house can strike from the sky and take out the lights of many houses for miles around. And just what is the power of that blue-white light that can flash from the sky and start a fire or split a tree in two?
I've imagined my self, standing in my driveway, in the storm at its height. I remove all my clothes and allow the rain to cleanse my whole body. I raise my eyes upward, leaning my head back, taking in the rain and looking for the god of thunder. I raise my arms parallel to my shoulders, with my hands hanging limp, making a cross out of my body as I offer myself to the storm. The god of power answers and his blue-white finger comes out of the sky and touches me on the top of my head. His power surges through my whole naked body. Blue flames shoot out of my fingers and my toes. My insides begin to sizzle and my skin to smoke. As my eyes bug out, I loose my breath and convulse. Something inside me shatters as the wave of thunder rocks the world around me. It's over, as I fall to the ground in a heap. Steam rising off my body as the rain continues to fall. While the raindrops sizzle atop my flesh. Am I alive or dead, or more alive? I never know because I don't know what would happen. The lightening is a strange and powerful thing, and doesn't always do the same thing in the same way. What is its power and what is life?
I don't frequent funerals, but I've been to a few. I've seen a few open caskets, too. I've seen the corpse of a friend or loved one, their empty shell lying there so all could say goodbye one more time before dust again becomes dust. The morticians worked hard, and the shell looks as good as possible, but they can never remove that grey, hazy, colorless look. That nowhere look. That nothing look. That what-the-fuck look. Is it because the lightening is gone, the house is vacated, and the storm is over? When I die I want to go out in a bolt of lightening and a blast of thunder, maybe just the way I came in. If only I could live every day like that!
I get off on Storms!
© 2003 James Fowler, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
Spiritually I hope you see a merger of Christian and Pagan thought here. And I spell grey with an e on purpose, because it's a British thing and they know the days I describe, plus I hope it adds a little of that Celtic thing I'm looking for.