Just a few days ago, Tropical Storm Lee clumsily knit together right outside our front door, winds grasping to learn the circular steps required to increase its intensity and propel itself northward, dancing through the water-wrung swamps along Louisiana's coast that begged winds to slow their path and rain down mercy into land's near-empty vessel.
The storm did just that, slowing to a crawl. Here in our little patch of earth where fields that generated 20,000 square bales last year might see 15,000 (if we're lucky), where saplings have struggled to their last breath before their staked flags were lowered--in drought, the thought of hurricane rain is electrifying, exciting, even anticipated.
Yet, as I checked Facebook statuses, glanced at the Weather Channel, and even gathered for worship on Sunday, the consensus was clear--what horrible weather! When will the rain stop?
Some areas were hit by tornadoes, flash floods, and storm surge coming up over the levees. But most of those complaining? They were sitting in well-insulated houses, safe from the waters streaming over streets and into lawns, a storm doing little more than to force them indoors into short-lived power outages. Me, traditionally the malcontent--I just couldn't understand. Surely I wasn't the only one who had been praying for rain..and this was rain!?
Our farm measured 12 1/2 inches over three days, sheets of liquid hypnotizing in their cobra-like sway both day and night over greening fields. Aside from the torrential rains that the ground has mostly opened her mouth to guzzle, attempting to quench her thirst, we had little damage--an already rotten tree downed in Sunday morning winds; a long, woody rose stalk separated from its source of life; rows of corn needing to be picked early for drying; and a tilted cedar needing to be staked until ground firms back up.
Even with two extra loads of laundry from soaking children splashing in the rain and puddles, husband and I found this to be the most relaxing weekend this year that we've spent as a family.In the midst of the storm's coolness, we ate together hearty soup and cornbread. Twins picked up wind-fallen acorns and already-turned leaves. And husband played at flying a kite in 30 mph gusts.
Once the rains were past, we opened windows to let in the first touches of fall's promise. And with that fresh crispness jogging our memories of autumns past, oldest son begged for hot cocoa.
Presently, a low sits just north of the Yucatan Peninsula, another of as yet unformed storm waiting on marching orders from on High. With each storm that forms and takes aim at our country, Katrina is still ever present at the front of most Louisianians' minds, especially in the wake of last week's Irene up the coast.
We know how bad it can be, how terrifying the high winds, the uprooted trees, how discouraging the lines of roofs covered in blue tarps even a year later, how frustrating the slow plod back to normalcy in the aftermath when even daily bread is missing from emergency-lighted store shelves and lines at gas pumps take us back to the hard times of the '70s.
For this storm we have just endured and for the possible one to come--we must make the decision now to choose joy. It's not an easy choice, not hardly, but is the only one that can bring peace in whatever comes.
Whether He allows a storm to condense and move or disperse, all is mercy, all is worthy of thankfulness.