Note: This is another one of those "intensely personal" posts; only those tagged to it can see it.
Extreme physical sensation has a useful side effect: it is very difficult to feel intense emotion whilst experiencing/enduring it. (Difficult, but not impossible. It generally takes effort and practice, however.) Usually emotions come before and after the physical sensation—hurt, longing, fear, attachment. (Which is why some very odd emotional phenomena can occur at extremes of sensation. Given an overload of the occurrence with the right personality and circumstance, both orgasm and torture can scramble emotional circuitry—a bit of advanced Abnormal Psych for your delectation.)
I know all this because I think. A lot.
The very first person who ever told me I thought too much was Mrs. Ralston. She was my 3rd-grade teacher. I've been hearing a Greek bloody chorus of the same refrain ever since.
To no avail. I like thinking. There are certain things about myself that I can't change, but I don't think that's one of them. If it were, I wouldn't know such a myriad of ways to turn my brain off. I also wouldn't avoid the more common means of doing so (TV, computer games) so devotedly.
My disclaimers having been issued, there are times that thinking grows too painful—even for me.
This weekend is one of them. And this weekend wouldn't be so bad if the 365 days that preceded it hadn't been... somewhat stressful.
(Those who don't wish to read a canticle—literally—of my woes in the past year should avert your eyes now.)
So I heard the searing crash outside my window just as I finished typing my last Note, with all its reflection on a set of vulnerabilities I can no longer display.
I needed to feel something on my skin. Something shocking. Something overwhelming.
A thunderstorm would do the trick nicely.
So I walked out into one.
Stood in the darkness of the drive, at the blind side of the building (so as not to disturb my neighbors' sleep or sensibilities). Turned my face up to the sky.
Let the noise and darkness and the rush of cold—water and wind and thunder that sounded both threatening and forlorn, lonely somehow—wash me.
Rain is primal, rainstorms more so: power that cannot be leashed or governed or lessened by any human agency imagined or contrived.
It is important to remember the existence of such. Humbling. And...reassuring.
Storms put things like suffering, grief, anxiety, loneliness, despair, back into their very small, very human places against the larger span of the earth.
So I stood and breathed in cold and a little water. Felt it sheeting liquid down my skin.
Tasted it—slightly sour, slightly metallic—on my tongue and lips every now and again.
Felt it sting my eyes, gather against my lashes. Blinked it away to be able to see—to keep looking at the sky.
Didn't move or make any sound—why try to form words when they were what I was trying to forget? (Ideas, images, memories—almost all ride a tide of words for me, sooner or later.)
Eventually the storm did too.
A tide I didn't summon. A tide I was trying to forget. Words that tied themselves to others I've known, others I've sung.
A tide made of song and suffering and James Baldwin and lightning and
[It's gonna rain]
[It's gonna rain]
[You better get ready]
[And bear this in mind]
[And bear this in mind]don'twantaheart
[God showed Noah]
[By the rainbow sign]
[No more water—]
[Fire next time.]