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“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.” 
― Vivian Greene
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Storm Watch 2016!

I know, right?  Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's the first big storm of the fall season.  A big storm, followed quickly by the dregs of a typhoon (literally), followed by another big storm.  So far it's just been heavy rain.  The wind is likely to start very late tonight or early in the morning.  The remainder of the typhoon hits Saturday.  High winds, more rain, on already drenched, possibly super-saturated ground, destabilizing massive trees.  It would be nice if we didn't lose power, but... we'll see.  It's a watch and wait situation.

So to set the atmosphere for this post (so to speak), a song to start with - The Storm by Big Country.

And what does this have to do with the Mythic Librarian?  Big storms are the stuff of story, legend, and memory.  The story of great great great grampa who made it all the way home in the big storm and then succumbed to the (cold/falling tree/etc) between the barn and the house.  The time when the tree fell and missed the house by eight feet and "just" took out the deck.  The tree that fell and took out the house.  The time the snows came and shut everything down for two weeks, a month, two months.  The laughter and groans of having to find the matches and candles.  Lighting a fire in the fireplace for heat.  Trying to set the candles so that they illuminate the words in the songbook so we can sing songs accompanied by a guitar huddled together in the dark.  Listening to the pinecones and branches and rain pelt the roof.  The silence as big, wet snowflakes drift down.  The wind rushing through the trees in a midsummer surprise storm.  

To go along with the song, at the time that album came out, my brother got the album for Christmas.  That was the year I got Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy.  Which I read in all of two days. It starts out when Merlin is very young, and during a huge storm, there is a village raid.  So with this song and the images from the book melding in my head, the intensity of the storms so well described, the feelings evoked by both music and book - I cannot hear a storm, or that song, or see that book, without remembering the others. An impression, to be sure!

Elemental forces, beneficial and useful in some conditions, are wild and savage under other conditions.  To overlook this is at our own peril.  The shifting climate change that we have started the process of means we'll see more of the extremes of weather, rising oceans, hotter summers.  Finding ways to live in alignment with the elements is ever more important.  To be aware of and opt for alternative sources of energy. To acknowledge and adjust to different regional needs for conservation.  Like sun and moon have been given personalities in stories, so too have air, fire, water, and earth.

Tonight Ursula K. Le Guin comes to mind. Specifically, her poem, A Measure of Desolation: February 2005

Again and again    the landwind blows,
sending back the rain
to the house of the rain.
Seeking, seeking,    the heron goes
longlegged from creek
to thirsty creek.
They cry and cry,    the windblown crows
across the sky,
the bare clear sky.
From land to land    the dry wind blows
the thin dry sand
from the house of sand.
Is that what's happening tonight?  The landwind is trying to send back the rain to the house of the rain?  

And another shift - to Shakespeare: 
Blow, blow, thou winter wind, 
   Thou art not so unkind 
      As man’s ingratitude; 
   Thy tooth is not so keen, 
Because thou art not seen, 
      Although thy breath be rude. 
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly: 
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: 
   Then, heigh-ho, the holly! 
      This life is most jolly. 

   Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, 
   That dost not bite so nigh 
      As benefits forgot: 
   Though thou the waters warp, 
      Thy sting is not so sharp 
      As friend remembered not. 
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly: 
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: 
   Then, heigh-ho, the holly! 
      This life is most jolly.

If I start going down the trail of songs, this may never end, and so perhaps it's best to end the songs and poetry with this song, that never fails to bring up wandering in the woods on dark and stormy nights - Sit Down By The Fire, The Pogues. 

And how can we discuss storms without acknowledging Storm from the X-Men?  One of the early black superheroes, and first black heroine playing a major role!  

Who brings me to Oyá and Maman Brigitte.  With the terrible Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti, Haiti, like Oyá and Maman Brigitte seems to stand between the worlds, between life and death, awash in wind, rain, and terrible flooding.  Oyá is the power of the wind to return everything to its original state, blowing away anything that might have been created or changed since the beginning.  She is also the patron of the marketplace, and change to established order.  Maman Brigitte offers healing and justice, and oversees death.  

If you have a few extra dollars, consider donating some of them to Haiti.  Need some recommendations?  Gotchu, fam.  

Haitian-led orgs you can contribute to directly for relief efforts: Non-Haitian Orgs with proven track records in Haiti: And perhaps, if you feel called, leave an eggplant for Oyá and some nettles, or rocks from a cemetery for Maman Brigitte, and maybe some rum for both of them - they've been working very hard lately!

Where ever you are tonight, whatever the weather outside, may you be warm, dry, and safe.  

In the midst of the storm, ever curious,

--Susan
Copyright © 2016 The Mythic Librarian, All rights reserved.


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