Sonnet 34: Why didst thous promise such a beauteous day
And make me travel forth without my cloak…
I think of this often when I am either optimistic about the weather, be it a cool spring morning––too cool––or a summer’s day when the storm clouds are just beyond the horizon and when I am beyond the point of no return and I hear the thunder roll and see the puffy white edges present themselves above the treetops the beginnings of a billowing boiling storm.
Today we headed out the door and went east as we sometimes do, a grey overcast May morning, high cloud like the underside of some soft quilt happening above. And yes we were well on our way when the poodle stopped and looked at me. What? We’re doing what you want. A walk to the lookout, lots of sniffing, in the moment. We continued until I heard it too, the low growling of thunder back towards the west, back towards where the clouds are thick and dark, back towards where I had not looked until that moment. He’d heard it long before me.
Yes I thought, oh shit, done it again. We’ll have to run to get back before getting drenched or hit by a bolt of lightening. But this thought, to which I had become accustomed, because of my habitual carelessness, was replaced by a larger, heavier and far more resonant feeling.
India, I thought. That sound, that thunder is coming all the way, through the earth, from India. The sounds of pain and deep, deep tragedy. It was India. I had read about India and the pandemic, at times not trying to follow the headlines and other times being drawn in to the news of this sad disaster. Both responses akin to trying to not look at a train wreck as it slowly progresses from bad to worse to worst. And there I was walking along a country road, dark clouds gathering and thinking as far removed as I was from India that it was there, somewhere in my consciousness. Very real. Very loud. Roaring in pain and anguish.
It’s odd to be in this world, in this bubble, fairly isolated while a humanitarian disaster of such magnitude takes place on the same planet. Do I want to jinx things by saying “why them?” Closer to home, people are dying while angels hold their hands in place of family, sad stories replay over and over. Care workers are worn to the quick. Raw, spent, yet managing to fight to steer the ship, hold the oars against the tide.
The thunder today caught me by surprise. Spoke volumes.