There’s a lot I could talk about that occurred in the past week, namely the misogyny (and probably racism) the whole world saw at the women’s U.S. Open final. But what really intrigued me this weekend was weather.
My spouse and I went to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for a mini-vacation, landing Thursday night and leaving Sunday evening. We knew there was some weather brewing in the Atlantic, but figured we’d go anyway. We had almost every meal outside, mostly because the AC was blasting everywhere we went, but the temperature outside was actually pretty pleasant, even with the threat of weather.
On Thursday night, while we ate dinner, I noticed that some cumulonimbus clouds several miles out to sea (I suppose I should explain that I was a really huge weather nerd in middle school, thanks to a great science teacher and an acute fear of storms. I figured if I learned more about them, I wouldn’t be so afraid of them. I was right.). Knowing that storms generally west to east on land and east to west over water, I started to get nervous. The clouds grew bigger and bigger, puffier and puffier, until lightning glowed throughout, illuminating them in the dark sky.
“Maybe we should go inside,” I told Rustin.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” he said in a very Rustin-like manner. Nothing ruffles his feathers ever, whereas my feathers are in a constant state of flux.
But, of course, he was right. The storm never moved. The lightning never touched the water or the ground, but stayed suspended in the clouds, which eventually dissipated.
It’s really the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. But once I realized that the storm wasn’t coming near me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
During a flight once, my plane flew around a thunderstorm. There was no turbulence, no hint that something was awry in the atmosphere; we just floated alongside these massive clouds that kept lighting up. And it gorgeous.
I couldn’t help think, somewhat cheesily, that this must mean something, and it does. I’ve never been in a beautiful storm while I was in it. During storms as a kid, I was frightened to death of thunder and lightning, and no one and no thing could soothe me. During storms as an adult—not actual weather—I feel much the same way. It seems that no one can say anything that actually encourages me; the only thing that will make me feel better is for the storm to end, though something always comes up again.
These resplendent clouds were a reminder to me that I go through storms (like years-long career uncertainty and trauma) that will ultimately make things beautiful. Maybe my mess looks like a masterpiece to someone else, and vice versa, I don’t know. I just have to remember that there is beauty before, during, and after, even when I don’t see it.