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.

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