By Kate Meadows

January 19, 2015


He awakes crying just after 6 a.m. Hard rain pounds against the windows, and the sky is black as coal, electric with dances of lightning.

But it is the thunder that woke him. It breaks in heart-stopping claps and low, penetrating rumbles. The violent sound is a noise he can’t make sense of. He reaches for me from the edge of his crib.

The whole night has been noisy and unsettled. I lie tucked between butter-soft sheets, listening to the sky’s wrath and thinking back to cold summer nights in Wyoming. There, my dad and I filled the space of a two-man tent deep in the mountains and felt the ground move to midnight thunderstorms. The thunder reverberated the earth, causing us to sink farther into the warmth and weight of our sleeping bags. Sometimes I plugged my ears and pressed my head hard into my pillow, trying to soften the merciless shouts of the sky. I folded myself into my dad as the earth moved again and again.

I was not afraid.

When the sky’s fury wakes my son, I go to him quickly. I want him to know the safety that I knew.

I lift him out of his crib and he folds himself into me, a trusting mass of warmth. I bring him back to my bed, and we tuck ourselves beneath the worn sheets. He is not crying now.

His heart beats against my chest as we lie there and listen to the restless morning breaking.


Photo "Thunderstorm 4/9/2011" provided by Eje Gustafsson, via Flickr creative commons license.

Comments (7) - Post a Comment
Beautiful. Glad I paused to read.
Amy at 9:03am EST - January 19, 2015
Love the vivid details. Love, "a trusting mass of warmth."
Melissa Cronin at 9:18am EST - January 19, 2015
Beautiful. I especially like ..."and he folds himself into me, a trusting mass of warmth."
joanne at 11:19am EST - January 19, 2015
Thank you, Amy, Melissa and Joanna, for your kind comments. This piece is close to my heart, and I am so grateful for your readership.
Kate Meadows at 2:15pm EST - January 20, 2015
I have read it now 3 times, and can not find a place or a phrase I love more than the rest. I love it all. It is a perfect picture of a thunderstorm, painted with words.
Mom at 3:10am EST - January 22, 2015
Lovely-- the movement of the story, the memory of the nights with your dad, the power of the storms and of love.
Susan Cole at 5:16am EST - January 28, 2015
Lovely piece, Kate. The legacy of safety from your Dad to you and now to your young son provides a nearly cellular safety net for an adult life to come that is quite profound. Would that all babies were so fortunate.
Beth Westmark at 9:32pm EDT - June 23, 2015

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