He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
The rain bands of Tropical Storm Colin pound against the sliding glass door demanding to come inside. Wind twists tree branches and rakes pine needles into the yard where puddles of water reflect the last daylight. Encouraged by the wind, spanish moss reaches for the next tree. The house smells like wet dog. Lucy the Doberman groans as the sound of water dripping down the chimney wakes her from sleep. Two more canines doze on, while one paces the living room. She cannot sleep. Neither can I. The storm, enough to remind us of nature’s fury, but weak and posing no real threat should lull me into complacency. As a Floridian by birth, I have seen enough pictures of the havoc that even a small storm can create. Which to be more afraid of? Waves that wash over sea walls flooding streets, saturated soil that no longer holds trees into place or wind which whips siding and roofs from shelter? Or all three? Despite the images, the howling wind and driving rain, we still live here. This is home. The place where we raised our children. Where they dug holes in the ground sinking roots deep into the soil like the trees that the wind whistles through even now. The place where we buried legions of dogs and the occasion cat, as close as family members, missed as intensely today as the day they passed. The shell driveway where they learned to ride bikes before graduating to motorcycles. Where they thought they were all grown the day that they walked to the corner alone to catch the school bus, and the fruit store around the corner that makes orange ice cream. The place where grandparents live next door, a casual walk to their house and the shore. Where there is a mucky bay that pulls rubber boots right from your feet, mangroves filled with exotic birds of blue, pink and green and a dock where manatees take shelter from the sun. Most nights we see the sunset in gold and orange sky right above the horse barn where my horse and two of his friends hide from the rain. The storm threatened all day, but I am thankful it waited until I got home from work and the grocery store to strike. A pot of chili on the stove, a pan of cornbread in the oven and a good book fill my stomach and my mind as I try to ignore the sound of the wind, increasing in decibels hoping to attract my attention if the pounding on the glass cannot. The electricity flashes off, then on again. Will we lose the air conditioning? Lucy goes back to sleep and snores beside me. The weather channel hums in the background as hysterical newscasters warn of impending doom. Where else would I go as the sky darkens to pewter? I sit in a cushioned chair, watch the leaf ballet and pray that I will always have this place to call home.