It was a day weighted by humid imposition, though not unlike others where you resign to the constant feel of sticky skin and of breathing water rather than air. The kind of day you wish from your six-year-old imagination for a icy breeze to cool hot damp skin and ruffle stringy hair away from your neck. Where even the ants labor under the oppression and struggle in their unified march toward the nest.
And like a whisper from God’s breath a wind roars down and you feel gleeful relief but for a moment. But then the rushing clouds eclipse the sun and mother is calling you to hurry. Hurry toward home. And as you rise to your Keds-shod feet a stillness takes all captive. The steady rumble of living creatures hush in unison and maybe the earth pauses in its spinning rotation, having lost sight of the sun.
And a crackling boom illuminates the sky with veiny fingers of electricity pointing the way toward shelter. You know it now, that the big wind is coming. The big, dangerous wind, that gobbles up trees and cars and spews debris in cacophonic abandon.
Grey thunder rumbles like a pot boiling over and the first fat drops of rain hit bare arms and legs, which are pumping fast, fast toward home. Mother leans open the screen door yawning on its hinges, arm extended and poised to snatch you to safety.
Shepherded now all of us into the basement rec room, huddled on poorly replicated early American furniture – brown and sad. No one speaking and all listening to a crackling transistor radio warning and predicting. And we wait. In darkness. Wind howls like a madman and pummels with rain and hail. The screaming wind in furious assault picks no target but targets all in its path. Candles flick light but mostly shadows that show me the clench of my father’s jaw and the involuntary tap of my mother’s foot. But soon I am lost in the sound of the wind and the green and pink plaid of my peddle pushers. I am lulled into a waking sleep that shrouds me against crazy wind whirling above. And then it is over. We feel it, all of us – and slowly rise from sheltered gloom. The big wind has moved on to other victims, in search of better food. But the rain still tap-tap-taps against the roof to remind us what has been.