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Monday, August 27, 2012

Thundershirt Jackets of Faith

Thundershirt Jacket
It has been raining for the past two days here in Lower, Slower Delaware.

Saturday night, Mother Nature put on a magnificent show. Problem was, she stayed on the stage for at least four encores.  I didn't hear any applause or encouragement for her to continue.

The rain started around 5 PM. The thunder and lightening commenced around 6 PM. The storms rolled in and out for the rest of the evening and into the night and never ended until 5 AM Sunday morning.

Between 11 PM Saturday and 4 AM Sunday, there were times when the entire house was as bright as if it were 10 AM on a beautiful, clear summer day. The thunder cracked so loudly that, at times, I feared a part of the house had been hit by lightening and the whole house might cave in.

At 3 AM, I watched the lightening dance from dark rain cloud to dark rain cloud in a pattern that made the Alvin Alley Dance Company look like they stand still during a jazz routine.

It was incredible - when it wasn't scary - and yet, with a terrible, terrifying beauty all its own.

At times, it looked as if the root system of the earth was being exposed on a weird sort of X-ray.

At other times, it looked as if the very arteries and veins of the universe had been captured on a radioactive C.A.T. scan or M.R.I.

Most of the time, it looked as if someone was using a flash camera behind the clouds. I kept myself amused thinking that a photographer was saying to the angels, "Okay. That's good, baby. Work it. Smile for the camera. That's it. More attitude. Gimme some more shoulder. Now, pout. Good. Nice. That's it. Work it."

Not to be outdone, the wind occasionally got into the act, howling its delight at the magnificent show that was unfolding. At times, it sounded like a crowd at a sports event, cheering the players on.

The dogs were not happy. Well, Theo is pretty non-plussed by storms. Every now and again, he would lift his head up from his pillow to acknowledge a loud clap of thunder, look over at his siblings, Ms. CoCo and Lenny, cowering and shaking in their Thundershirt Jackets, in bewilderment but with just the right amount of sympathy. 

Ms. Conroy got up around 3 AM to sit in the living room, holding Lenny close to her chest, with Ms. CoCo snuggled near her thigh.  About five minutes later, Theo decided to join the rest of the pack, content to stand - or, rolled up in a ball - in solidarity with his siblings.

The Thundershirt Jackets have worked well in the past few days we've had them - gradually increasing their tolerance - but this storm went on way too long.

Ms. CoCo didn't bark as she normally does but she was clearly frightened. Lenny did his usual panting and drooling and shivering and shaking but not as bad as without the Jacket.

Truth be told, both of their humans could have used one. It was pretty scary at times.

"Boatie" filled to the brim
We were fortunate. No damage done. No flooding anywhere in the neighborhood. Amazingly, we didn't even lose electricity or cable or the internet.

We do have some work to do to get the water out of "Boatie" our rubber boat which we foolishly left right-side-up on the deck. It's now so full of water we can't lift it to flip it over and get rid of the water. We're going to have to bale it out. Once it stops raining.

Meanwhile, just a few miles away in Rehoboth Beach, there was quite a lot of flooding.

Several restaurants and shops had to close because the water was coming in near the electric panels. One motel had serious flooding in their parking garages, the water covering the hoods of the cars. Great way to ruin a vacation at the beach.

There were trees down everywhere on the road, forcing some roads to close until the crews could come and cart them away. Other roads were closed because of flooding. We didn't make it to church yesterday because we had been up all night. Turns out, we wouldn't have been able to make it, anyway, because some of the roads were temporarily closed. 

After a relatively calm beginning to the day, the rain and thunder and lightening have started again this morning. I've put the Thundershirt Jackets back on Lenny and Ms. CoCo, who is seriously annoyed at the noise. Theo has joined her in a woof-growl as they both stand at the door and kvetch at Mother Nature. Lenny keeps looking at me as if to say, "Can't you make it stop? Please?"

I've been thinking about the folks in the Midwest where drought has caused more calamity to people's lives than water damage to cars. And, the folks in Haiti where several people have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Issac. And, the folks in NOLA who are bracing for another hurricane almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina.

I'm wondering what some members of the Tea Party faction of the RNC will make of all this, given their penchant to ascribe things to God that I'm betting make God giggle - when God doesn't become thoroughly disgusted because we don't use the intelligence with which we were created.

I'm growing more and more convinced that the War on Women is really just a larger part of a War on Critical Thinking.

The RNC officially opens today in Tampa, FL, but I understand that it is being rapidly convened and then postponed until sometime tomorrow  - perhaps even later, depending on the path of Hurricane Issac.

This is the second consecutive RNC that has been disrupted by a hurricane.

It's very tempting to make a snarky remark about that but, you know, that would be as dumb as those who talk about events of nature as "Acts of God".

When you're in the sixth grade, that sort of theology is understandable. Problem is, adults - especially those who want to be elected leaders in this country - have long ago graduated from the sixth grade.

My pups don't understand what's happening, so they bark and growl when they don't shiver and shake.  As adult human beings, we try to care for them, calming them and soothing them as best we know how, even as we deal with our own wonder and awe and anxiety and fear.

Weather happens. Bad stuff happens to good people. Bad stuff seems to keep happening to good people - a sucker punch of a hurricane a few years after a catastrophic earthquake.

I don't pretend to understand how it all works - or, why. I just know that when bad stuff happens, it is a measure of our humanity - and a standard of our Christianity - to help those in need who have been adversely affected by events of nature.

As I've been writing this, the rain and thunder and lightening have stopped and the sun is trying to break through. There have been at least three rainbows that have made appearances in the East in the last half hour.

I'd love to think it's a sign of some sort, but I know it's just the splitting of white sunlight into component colors by raindrops. As I understand it (and, I don't really), some of the light that falls on a water drop enters the drop. As it enters the drop, the color components of the sunlight are refracted or bent by different amounts depending upon their wavelength.

Got that? Of course you do. Your an intelligent person. It makes sense, right?

Still, it's sort of fun - if not comforting - to think of it as God's promise not to destroy the earth.

That's a thought I confess I hold onto when I look at the damage in some parts of my neighborhood and the potential hazards to other places which are predicted by the oncoming hurricane.

Yes, we've been having - and continue to have - rain and some "extreme weather". Some places are experiencing severe drought. Other places have still not fully recovered, seven years later, from "extreme weather" even as they prepare for more.

It doesn't make any sense. Lots of stuff in life doesn't. I don't think it's supposed to. Not completely.

While I've got my brain fully engaged, I've got the eyes of my heart fixed firmly on the rainbow.

I like to think of it as my own "Thundershirt Jacket of Faith".


Elaine C. said...

My response to the RNC/hurricane problems -- Gee, plan an event at the peak of hurricane season in an area where there a lots of hurricanes ... one might expect a ... hurricane.

I'm hoping some of the water from
this one will get into the parched midwest. The crops may be gone, but the woody species and water table could use some help. I love a good storm. And I'm not real patient if my power is out for more than a day or two. Have to keep reminding myself of how much of the world doesn't live in the luxury that we do.

June Butler said...

I don't know how anyone with common sense can argue that we're not seeing more extreme weather. There's the ongoing drought throughout much of the country, and it seems that every day I read about extreme weather. Maybe my memory is slipping, but I don't remember hearing about such extremes so very often.

I'm pleased that you and your house came through the bad weather safely.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Elaine - I think Eisenhower must be rolling over in his grave.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mimi - there you go again, talking about "common sense". There seems to be a paucity of it these days.

We had no idea it was going to be this bad. I'm glad it didn't do more damage than it did. The sun is out now and it's stopped raining. I think I'll take these pups out for a walk. They deserve it.

Pfalz prophet said...

I'll work on a comment tomorrow or Wednesday, sorry I don't have the will today.

Pfalz prophet said...

Sorry it took me so long to get back, I had to plan a memorial service for my partner and attend to the 1,436 other details to gain control of his finances, schedule his interment, host a passle of relatives and correct his death certificate.

Love your posts as always, Elizabeth, pay no attention to Mark ;-) . You can bale "boatie" right onto the deck, right?

I'm interested in hearing you develop further the idea that there exists a War on Critical Thinking. Who's conducting this war? What would be the spoils of such a conflict? I read the tea leaves as a drive back toward feudalism. No more ownership of real or capital assets, total subservience to an owning class, the annihilation of the middle class (reserving a space for tekkies, much like the musicians in the 18th century). Just musing.