Often we speak of the calm before the storm, referring to that state of waiting with the exciting hint of anticipation. But now I consider the feeling that comes over us when the storm has passed. The calm after the storm. The release, the relief, the complete letting go. The slow, deep exhale as you let your eyes close and your shoulders relax…
For now, I am in the storm. The wind is blowing. Does it blow so hard elsewhere in the spring? The wind can be troublesome, destructive, unforgiving. The cold, the snow, the rain… these can be uncomfortable, but they don’t send me running for shelter as the wind will do. It is a powerful force. It draws your energy, stirs up agitation. It is exhausting to battle, and I always lose.
We knew the storm was coming. You could see it in the dark clouds circling above our little bit of mountain. The horses probably knew it, because they came to the barnyard earlier, nickering for dinner. I could not resist. As I began to feed, the wind hit. It whipped up the only dry dirt on the mountain, the dried up dusty trampled soil around the barn yard, and twisted it in the air 20 feet above the horses and me, all of us caught in the middle of this swirling brown gritty squall. Horses too are bothered by wind, and the forceful blowing, whipping up the earth around them, sent them into a frenzy, running, kicking, bucking, probably all as blinded as me, standing there in the middle with an arm full of hay. I looked for shelter. To my south was a little run in shed that had already been blown over once by a wind storm, this time last spring. To the north was the big hay shed, and I swear I watched as the front corner was lifted up six inches. I chose not to move, and stood there paralyzed amidst the forceful, blinding blowing. Bob and Forrest were calling to me from the porch but I could not hear them, and could barely see them through the swirling dust. As the wind lessened temporarily, I scattered the hay, only to watch it blow away, but enough remaining on the ground to provide a relief, a distraction and comfort for the horses, as food will do. I promised them more when the wind dies down, and left for the shelter of my cabin.
I am in here now, warmed by the fire and safe within our heavy log walls. Around me, the wind still blows. In the last light of the day, a pale yellowy grey muted glow that it is in this wind storm, the horses are still running around, still bothered, agitated by the winds, blowing at their nerves as it blows as the dry dirt.
I assume the wind will continue like this all night. It’s one of those nights like the one that blew the chicken away. I know I will not sleep well. I will listen for trees falling. I will look out side in the complete darkness (for there is no moon tonight) for the silhouette of the sheds to see that they are still intact. I will check on the horses, especially Tres, who is due to foal so soon… I will worry.
And in the morning, after a fitful sleep, the storm will have passed. I will sit at the kitchen table with my coffee, let out a deep breath, close my eyes, lean back, and savor the calm after the storm.
And now, it is morning. It is calm. The wind has been replaced by snow. The gentle, soothing, placid blanket to quiet the mountain after the uproar she once again endured… Putting the horses, the soil, the land, and me all at a peaceful ease. The calm after the storm.