Reflection – Monday, June 20, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Of late, I often find myself wondering if I am truly odd. It’s not a question I can ask family or colleagues. But I do wonder, and the aftermath of the severe storms that blew through here last night brought the question to mind again.

As storm clouds raced overhead, trees writhed violently in the furious winds. New and repeated warnings interrupted the classical radio station I listen to every few minutes – severe storms surrounded us. Tornadoes, high winds, torrential rain and large hail.

I sat on my back porch watching the trees and the sky, feeling the tremendous power of the storm. I felt connected to the earth and life around me in a way I’ve not experienced before. I could feel what I imagined was the anguish of the earth and the thin layer of atmosphere that makes our planet habitable.

How could we all fail to realize our connection to the earth and air as we continuously breathe in that atmosphere in order to survive? We are literally interwoven with the air and earth and water that surround and sustain us.


Photo: Duluth, June 19, 2016 (photographer, Jnana Hand)

As I watched the dark clouds race and boil, I wondered if my pets, neighbors, and I would survive the storm. But the thought didn’t frighten me. Instead, I gathered tobacco and walked into the wind to pray for everyone and all life in the path of the storm.

Years ago, I was too frightened to face the storms. I remember my last evening in Bloomington, Illinois in late summer, 2004. I huddled in the only inner hallway in my fragile little matchstick house with my faithful dog as tornado sirens blasted for hours. I remember my heart pounding, afraid to move or even look up. Afraid to breathe deeply.

I wondered what has changed since those days past. I wondered if the power I felt in that moment last evening as I prayed and offered tobacco to the earth and winds would be enough. I wondered if others were sending similar prayers as well, or were they huddled in their houses as I was years ago.

We were spared the worst of the storms, although this morning I awoke to piles of broken branches. But the trees are still standing here. And the struggling plants in my gardens survived as well.

I wonder if the power I felt was real. Is it the transformative power of love sent out without any expectations on behalf of others? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s just imagination or wishful thinking. Still, I’m just grateful we all survived to love another day.

I am curious to hear about your experiences and thoughts …



45 thoughts on “Reflection – Monday, June 20, 2016

  1. I think you were connected to the universal whole. I notice this happens more as I age and more as I open myself to the experience. It is wonderful when it happens and can be a powerful and liberating experience. Just remember, as you know you should, odd is always good, it means you are not trying to conform.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. For me, that power you describe comes from God. I think that’s why our connection to nature and our Earth is so strong. I’m glad you made it through the storm!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, if you’re odd then that makes two of us! One of my sisters actually says that I’m eccentric and I really embrace it as a way of saying I’m unique. I love watching storms and still outside when they are raging as long as I dare or my husband lets me. I feel so connected anytime I am outside but there are place and circumstances that increase and enhance that feeling of connectedness to the whole of all that is. Everytime I read the Genesis story in Scripture, I get this visual image of a sort of maelstrom out of which God is plucking all that is and tossing in out one by one to its place in the divine scheme of things. And I would love to have been a witness to the forming of Creation and stars and planets and galaxies. I loved this post Carol. You are very gifted in being able to describe what you see and hear and perceive. Thanks for sharing this story. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Odd or not. This is very similar to how I experience weather. I feel as if every cell in my body is being excited by the tremendous forces at play during storms, also when I’m near the ocean. I pray for everyone and everything during these times, but mostly I feel this intense urge to participate, to be a part of these moments, to exchange energy with everything that’s flying around, to join the dance. If you hadn’t written this lovely post, I might never have mentioned this to anyone, although I do have a friend who makes jokes about me always finding a reason to go outside when it’s stormy or raining 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, Robyn. I love the description of your feelings and responses to the energy of storms and the ocean.

      I was hesitant to share this post, and seriously considered sending it to the “trash bin.” But I am genuinely curious about other perspectives regarding “odd”feelings and experiences that are rarely discussed. Somehow these views seem to unite us with each other and the world in more meaningful, deeper ways.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m glad you didn’t!

        We believe we have all things figured out, and we don’t!

        We are connected to creation in more ways than just the material! And until we get back to this truth, we will always be lacking in those things that can bring us the life and peace we so desire now!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you, Dave. I am glad I took the risk to post this. The responses are so important and fascinating. But you know, those old tapes from academia still play … “can you support your experiences with empirical evidence that others can replicate and validate?” Still, as you point out, it is precisely these types of experiences of connection that are far more meaningful and important…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I hear you, Carol. And you are right, “it is precisely these types of experiences of connection that are far more meaningful and important…”

          Before we are anything else, we are human beings and a part of this planet and universe. And I think our sanity, our health and life, lies in this knowledge, first and foremost.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I love storms! We had the most amazing tropical storms in Venezuela, when I lived there. I recall being in an exchange with other teachers and students from Venezuela. We stayed in one of University of Georgia’s research areas, a sort of camping for science students, located in Savannah, GA. It was the year 1998 or 99, I can’t recall, and they were warning about a hurricane. Many evacuated, but we decided to stay. We were sleeping in bunk beds inside cabins, very close to the ocean…the storm was amazing, noisy, furious…the power went out and we stayed sharing stories and chatting almost all night. Next day the zone was flooded and we were cut from the land, but safe. I recall thinking how this “hurricane” was so similar to regular tropical storms that are everyday stuff in Venezuelan rainy season…
    I love how small and fragile I feel and at the same time, how I accept this as part of life. Like you say, no fear of being taken if that’s what’s in store…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing such lovely and powerful experiences, Silvia. Yes, storms do make one feel fragile, and yet connected to something so incredibly huge, unifying, and charged with life. I send you my best wishes, dear friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. I think there is a moment in time when we reconnect with the universe. We can feel what it means, and then a peace comes over us and we have finally conquered fear. Gave me goose bumps. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t think you feeling are odd. I think that you were truly engaged in the moment and, therefore, felt the power of nature and became one with the power of nature. Honestly, I think that is how we truly are supposed to live but the intensity of it is probably too much for us to stay in that state of mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. These are such crucial insights about the intensity of these kinds of experiences, Bernadette. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. <#

      (I recently spoke to a psychic who told me she has never been able to drive because she is too distracted by all that she sees in other dimensions as she travels, making it hard to be present in the moment.)


  8. Carol, over two decades ago, when I was still married, I was going through one of the worst trials of my life, and so, of course, were my wife, stepson and the rest of my family.

    And I can still remember sitting on the front porch during thunderstorms. The front porch had a small overhead roof that barely covered the chairs and plants. But I would go sit out there and, like you, experience the power of the storm, the power of the universe, the power of creation, the power that I believed, at that time, was the power of god. These storms always filled me up with a sense of peace and empowerment that allowed me to get a second wind, if you will, and continue on. And my wife would tell me to come in, because she was afraid I would be hit by lightning. And as a matter of fact, during one of these storms, a tree, not more than fifty yards from where I sat, was hit by lightning. And all this event did was fill me with more peace and a sense of power.

    After one of these times, my wife told me, “You are going to die out there!” And I told her what I knew to be true all too well, somewhere deep inside of me, “It is not my time to die. I must go through this hell, no matter how it turns out.”

    And my intuition had been right.

    And yet, as I get older now, and the body begins to fail, I fear storms, and not because of the natural, but because being without power is a nightmare for me these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your powerful experiences, Dave. I’m deeply grateful for your depth and honesty. As you so eloquently suggest, times of suffering and chaos can bestow these gifts, but sometimes we aren’t able to bear the intensity. The risks really are too real and dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t have an answer for you. I can tell you that as a child I was terrified of heights. Even a gently sloping hill sent me into a panic and left me frozen. Then one day I was in a small plane being buffeted by winds and in that wild and great expanse I felt if I died it would be a simply glorious way to die. Instead of feeling afraid I felt exhilarated. I felt the same way climbing Mt. Katahdin and looked down at the world below. So I thought I was over that phobia but as it turns out from time to time without any warning I freeze with terror on a ladder just a rung or two off the ground or driving on a mountain road. Most of the time I’m fine, but it’s entirely unpredictable when it will hit. I hope your own powerful feeling is a lasting one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Diane! This is something we share. I love to fly, especially in smaller planes, even though I too have trouble with heights. My knees grow weak even on ladders and driving on mountains (and even the hills of of Duluth) is something I try to avoid. I can’t predict how I will deal with future storms, but for now they are exhilerating, although they can be destructive and a drag when it comes to clean-up and repair…


  10. I rather like storms. They’re bigger than me. And though I’ve never experienced any harm from any I have ever experienced, I like the intimation of ominous danger in the darkness of the clouds, the sudden powerful gusts of wind, the flash of lightening and the claps of thunder.

    It all brings me back to the primeval nature of the world and even of my own inscrutable existence.

    I’m not much of a mystic, nor do I believe in higher or lower powers.

    I do think that I have absolutely no idea about what ‘all’ of ‘this’ is about, that reality far outstrips whatever grasp of it I may occasionally have.

    The world, the universe, as the storm that I observe sharpens the insight for me, doesn’t care about me or even knows that I exist. It lives in the infinite realm of the as yet formless unconscious, and yet it most certainly does have form and unfathomable energy, and out of this churning and restless infinity which does not know itself, in the fullness of all time which is not time, I have somehow emerged into this moment, this interstice of eternity, to gaze out at the eternity of being, which presently swirls all about me in that fury of awesome beauty that we call a storm.

    It is strange. To be the tension that stretches between the pole of a subjective ‘I,’ that knows itself to be myself, and the object that is the mystery of the ‘world,’ that is the sum of the ‘All’ toward which the storm has drawn my attention, this thing that I grasp but that yet forever eludes me in all of its vast and infinite extent and complexity.

    Yes, you are truly odd, Carol. Life is odd. It’s an awesome mystery. A real trip from which we will never wake up . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I too feel this power, even in the less dramatic circumstances. The older I grow, the more I trust this power. It can leave me devastated because I don’t know all the laws of the Universe, but I believe in them, and succumb to them. Thank you for this thought provoking post, Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We came out of a motorway rest stop on Tuesday and were in the midst of an unsettling storm. Confess I thought of waiting this one out. Anita thought we could outdistance it if we left right away. We ran to the car and – she was right. Remember going to rescue my daughter from a local Brownie camping weekend in the midst of a rare (for here) tornado. This 2016 sky brought out real, old, memories of real fear. I was thankful that she had paid attention to the forecast on Tuesday, including wind direction – she is culturally more connected to the Earth than I. Thunderstorms don’t bother me, but black skies in what should be day, like Tuesday’s, do. I am philosophically connected, but, a product of Western “dominance,” interconnectedness with nature is not as deeply in my genes as it should be. As we age, we gradually realize that we depend on other human beings more than before. Now, where WERE my glasses…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your exciting experiences, Bob. I appreciate the way you have described Anita’s gift of foresight and your crucial insights about dominance and interconnection. Yes, the changes that come with age can make us realize how much we do depend on others. (I think you’re wearing your glasses…)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A moving and thought-provoking post, Carol. I think we go about our days taking it all for granted until something big happens in nature and then we think. We need to renegotiate our treaty with the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I entirely connected with this post Carol. I feel the same connection with the Earth, wind, and trees, especially when they go mad. We seldom see storms though. Natural elements never fail to intrigue me! Simply surreal!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When we were living in s-e Queensland, we wandered out to take in the storm raging across our little village in the hinterland of the Gold Coast. The winds were fierce, the lightning was flashing and thunder rumbling, awesome. But then a storm cell whipped between our home and next door, nearly knocking us off our feet and sending rain at right angles through our wide verandah and right into the centre of our home! We started laughing as it was so unexpected! But one thing we blessed – we had a big grandfather tree on the corner of our home and it used to deflect the heavy storms right over our home. We often got advised by older locals to cut the trees in our garden down but we reckoned we’d planted them to honour nature and we never had any damage to the home itself in all the time we lived there. We did have one huge storm go over which blew out our electrics and destroyed our TV, video, answering machine and computer. But I’d just unplugged the air conditioners so, when power was restored later that night, we could switch them back on to cope with the intense heat and humidity – 44C and 90% humidity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Mo. I’m grateful to hear all survived, including the protective tree, despite the power of the storm and the collateral damage it left in it’s wake.


  16. Carol, Even 5 weeks late, what a wonderful post — serendipitously having arrived on my birthday! (I’m time-traveling, slowly catching up on so many fine posts after too long dealing with less inspiring matters.)

    And … if it is indeed odd … I’ve always loved storms. Perhaps I lack the good sense to be afraid of them? My own shortcomings, and what people sometimes do to one another, seem infinitely more frightening than anything I’ve experienced in the natural world. I might not have enough courage to stay in a hurricane’s path … but maybe someday. After all … “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I am one monumentally lousy dancer, but that’s just too bad, it’s still fun.

    Thank you yet again for all your excellent, thoughtful work, it is a most welcome source of refreshment and connection in my life. – Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so good to hear from you, Linda. You have been in my thoughts 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives. I love hearing that you dance in the rain, even though (like me) you’re a “lousy dancer.”

      Liked by 1 person

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