The alarm that wakes you in the middle of the night. There’s something primal, something visceral about that. We humans, at least since our ancestors climbed down from the trees, have felt vulnerable at night. If our sleep is constantly interrupted we don’t think clearly. We build secure houses. Lock our windows and doors at night. Say our prayers before we go to sleep. Last night I discovered that the homeowner has even greater concerns than the humble renter. While 11:30 may not be the middle of the night for some, for early risers it is. And there’s nothing to strike terror into the heart of a homeowner like a tornado warning. Especially here—our realtor laconically told us that they never have tornadoes in eastern Pennsylvania. The weather warning system disagreed with him last night.
Getting up as early as I do, first light is hours away. Hours before I might check for damage with the light of old Sol. My wife had to work, no less, at a venue some distance away and we both had to rise early and wonder what the damage might be. We knew, of course, that the pointless ritual of changing our clocks would occur tonight, but that does alleviate concerns about whether the roof was still on the house or not. You can’t take anything for granted, not even the continuity of time. Thus my thoughts returned to Weathering the Psalms.
Severe weather led to that book. If I were to rewrite it now it would come out quite differently, of course. No one would write the same book the same way after a decade and a half. Still, there may have been some things I got right in it. The weather is a cause of awe and fear. The sound of the wind roaring last night was impressively terrifying, even in a technological world. Especially in a technological world that relies on an unwavering power grid and constant connectivity. In the midst of a wakeful night, alone with thoughts too haunting for the day, the weather has a power with which we’re foolish to trifle. Global warming is a myth if it gets in the way of profits. Then darkness falls and we realize just how very small we are. In the light of dawn, the damage was not too bad. A frightened car meeping its mewling alert. And a strange justification that perhaps my book contained some truth after all.