Waiting for the storm but the storm came before.
Rolling in and lifting up the sea, dragging waves by the neck and smashing them down on the rocks on the shore, and then launching across the land to place its mighty clawing hungry hands on the trees and the houses, tearing great chunks out of the fence lines and flicking the power poles down into the streets. Didn’t anyone see?
I felt it. The thunderous roar of the sea in my ears. The echoing clap in my heart. Was I suddenly tossed in the grey and heaving waters, plunging under the water into muffled silence, my breath cut short, the salt taste on my tongue, bursting up again into the howl of the air where the spray stings? Gasping. Or was I by the shore, clinging to trees, feeling the sand whipping across my face, the bleary lights of the cars on a far off road nosing home away from me?
Are there people in those houses? People huddled under their blankets? Under the sheets? Are they alone? Are the children frightened or asleep unaware of the rubbish bins and trampolines shunting across the garden to pinion the pot plants to the fence?
Would you rather be in bed or out on the shore? I want to be Lear on the shore; unspared by the elements. Flailed. Drenched. Knocked down. The dirt is under my fingernails. The heat of a little blood in my mouth. Take it away. All the wasted energy on my pride. All the wasted vanity. The self-pity. The ego. Take it away. What use is it? Not able to feed myself without a supermarket. Not able to shelter without a house. Little use. A wind bag of opinions and a heart of sand. A mind of elaborate nonsense cogitating nothing.
Look! Look at the sea teeming in enraged, and the sky a furious bruise of greys and black. See the sheets of roof iron, the TV antennae and McDonalds’ burger boxes swirling up around us in the whirlwind. I can’t hear you sister above the roar. What’s that? A siren somewhere. Somewhere the wind is unpeeling a roof to get at a house’s soft centre. There’s a cross coming down off a steeple. There’s the deserted carpark of the mall.
I do not like chaos or destruction. I seek neither your end nor mine. The world is a hard and pitiless place and we are not significant to it. Not our dreams or our history or our mortgage or our wardrobes or our bookshelves. My father’s photo albums, and my children’s art are flotsam in the storm. The wind turns the pages without interest and tosses them faraway to people who do not care. The wind and the rain and the waves high on the shore call with the voice of God. Who are you?
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Nothing and nowhere.
Remember the storm’s purpose.