Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stormy Days

Dear Ellie,

Right now, the sun should still be hovering 15 degrees above the horizon, but eerily, night has come early.  A night with no stars, just a billowing grey blanket unfurled across the sky.  The wind whips the trees, their needles and leaves showing their bellies as though surrendering.  Where there should be summer heat, there is only cold seeping in through the windows.  Thunder rolls in, and then heavy rain drops.  They spatter against the roof like an artillery barrage.  The outside isn't a place we would want to be, but we aren't outside.  We're inside.  We're safe.

Everything I do indoors is better on stormy days, and I think I just realized why.  On normal days, "home" is just the place you spend the evening or afternoon.  But on a stormy day?  It's a cozy cocoon, protecting us from a perilous outside.

When you get older, the darkest of stormy days will be a time to revel in benign fears.  We'll reserve special games and special activities for just such times.  We'll haul all of the furniture together and build vast forts from chairs and blankets, then pretend that a hurricane is blasting through the living room.  We'll pull out scary board games, like The Arkham Horror, and battle our way through monsters and bitter sea storms to the Lighthouse at the End of the Causeway.  We'll sit by the window drinking hot cocoa and dare each other to sprint out to the edge of the driveway and back.  We won't actually do it, but it will be fun to imagine the discomfort of the wind and rain and cold, if only to make that cocoa taste better.

When its all over and the neighborhood is flooded, we'll sally forth from our castle and admire how the world has changed.  We'll don nets and catch fish that have invaded the yard, then keep them in aquaria as souvenirs.  Every time we see them swimming about, we'll wonder whether the next stormy day is very far away.

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