Columns/Opinion, Irene Marinelli

Storms bring thunder and growth to our lives

Who loves the rain and loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes,
Him will I follow through the storm,
And at his hearth-side keep me warm
— Frances Shaw
It’s raining. Again. Dark, gloomy clouds hiding the sun, drenching the earth. Rain falls, sometimes in dribbles that make a plopping sound on the puddles, sometimes in sheets resembling those shining icicles we hang on our Christmas tree.

For the last several days the sky has been entertaining us with such a variety of wetness pouring from gray clouds. When the mud is sticky syrup and the dog leaves dirty paw prints on every floor; when it’s impossible to stay dry outside even with an umbrella; when the constant gray skies remind us of unappetizing day-old porridge, then it’s hard work to remember this constant deluge has a purpose and an outcome we can appreciate. So it is with nature’s storms and so it is with the storms we encounter as we move through our lives.

We’ve waited through a long, freezing winter and a ridiculously cold, snowy March, on into April, and now, at last, our long wait seems to be almost over; rain instead of snow, mild temperatures instead of freezing cold. Before long we will be outside admiring the garden flowers, planting seeds and bringing home car-loads of perennials and vegetable plants from the various nurseries. Then will come summer, the season we wait for through the long winters. Then will come sparkling blue skies, flowers in abundance, fresh vegetables on the table. The children and grandchildren will visit more often. We’ll walk the woods’ paths, float down the river in kayaks, swim and play and live in sunshine. All this will be possible, will be doubly enjoyable because of the drenching, thundering storms of April. Without them there would be no summer.

The above poem by Frances Shaw goes on to say: “Nor hell, nor heaven shall that soul surprise, who loves the rain, and loves his home, and looks on life with quiet eyes.” I’ve never been able to read that poem without thinking of the murky gloom and the thunder of storms that enter our lives and how they affect us. We’ve all experienced these great, stormy upheavals. Most times they can cleanse the air and allow us to go on. Perhaps there are other times when the storm causes a landslide so huge, so terrible that everything we have is washed away in mud. When that happens is it still possible to “look on life with quiet eyes”? I wonder.

This much is sure: After the stormy spring season summer will come. It always has and, as long as our blue planet holds life, it always will. And so it is with our own storms. The trick is to be able to pull ourselves out of the mud and look up at a blue sky after the tempest is over, to know we’ve grown wiser and more insightful in the darkness of the storm; to realize these storms will come again and once again we will weather them.

Even the summer season to which we’ve looked forward for so long can have its down side. Much as we enjoy the bright, warm days, so are we bound by the unasked-for chores they bring. There’s grass to mow, gardens to weed and water. Summer evenings invite us to sit outside; mosquitoes and gnats send us back into the house. The good, the bad; the ugly, the beautiful. If we can deal with whatever the storms bring it all adds up to a full life.