We had one of those torrential Pennsylvania thunderstorms today. The ones that spill a thick sheet of rain over the porch awning for several minutes at a time. You could wash your hair in it, or strip the new paint from your house with it. The sky gets scary. Tornado scary. It goes from white to orange to green and then black. The wind blows things around the backyard. Branches crack like old bones and litter the street. And the street becomes a river too high for cars to pass. The smell of ozone permeates the open windows and slips between the screen doors, bleaching out all the stale motionless heat of summer. There’s an excitement in the air. Will this get worse? Get better? Don’t go away, storm. Not just yet. We don’t know what you’re here to do. And then it’s gone. Just like that. When these storms come and go, like the trains that scream over the railroad tracks, this is grit. Not Northeastern grit or Pittsburgh/Philly grit, but Nature’s grit. It’s stronger than curses and violence. It mows over these things, scattering the evidence of humans like ants. Grit smells of soaked pine trees and the soft new skin of snapped birch tree limbs. It produces winds so hard that the atmosphere is pushed as low as the sugar maples and fills all the living rooms for a 40 mile radius.
When these come, I think the world must need a cleansing. Somehow Nature knows. Collectively, it knows when humans have made a mess of things again and it’s getting ugly and heaven can’t stand the smell of us. Something good is about to happen in the wake of the rushing street floods and the loose farmhouse tiles. Take heart, the Earth has spoken.