The Storm (A Naive Story)

by William V. Ray

A few drops of rain fell outside. He turned from his book to watch, but after a few moments it stopped, only a brief spasm.

The silver-gray evening stood out, but it was in its waning moments. The air, matching the mood, would not be still, but would not be a wind. Strange, that it should still intrude upon his reading. "It's pleasant," he thought before it left him — as the words he was reading began to take effect again. He was able to go on reading, though half of him went out with each lithe rush which came and went — playing with it, wondering around it. "Like the breeze from the sea," he thought. The sound came again outside; it began raining again, still lightly, but more assuredly. The wind, momentarily rising, pushed the rain off its downward path. The half-light flickered, knowing that it would go out soon.

The clouds gathered, and desired to show their other face, counter to the pure white of a summer sky. "Do they stand for something else, those forms?" he thought — "so large." The forms answered nothing, stood on. Brown filled the sky and followed the rain to the ground, casting an earthen spell over everything. "A world, to explore," he thought, viewing the wholly transformed world outside. But as his thoughts drifted, night fell.

Night fell, black and black and black; but blue. "Why blue," he almost whispered; but it was not a question, really. The rain sped through the blue black, driving. He put the book aside, on the table, and turned off the lamp — surely the storm was more interesting. He noticed the table, as he found a restful place in the chair. He noticed his body, becoming so quieted, the same way he had noticed the table. The darkness mixed with the rain, as though they conspired to change each other from what they were in themselves. The sound poured over him, if the rain did not. "It will never end," he thought, the drunkenness of the thought lighting his face. His body, was gone. There seemed to be so much going on in his mind — but it was only a cyclical turning with the rain's ever-uttered syllable. Rumblings of imminent thunder began. He mused on his state: how things had run off, concerns, thoughts — everything; how unreally at rest he was.

At that moment, the sky split. Or such was the force of the thunderclap, that it seemed the sky had opened along a jagged line down the middle. It ripped into the silence of his body and left a deep impression. And the rain came anew. It seemed that he was seeing the individual drops of rain falling, rather than the indistinguishable mass of lines that was really before him. Still the rain beat. The dark powers of the earth awakened. Rain, this black breath, spewed out of the night. The night was rich with darkness. "No, there is more," he thought, "rich with … everything strong, weak … free." Thunder rocked in earth's heart. "Held here," he whispered. Wind still blew through the parted window. And every blow was strange love. He wanted to open the window completely. He thought of himself opening the window. "To let it … let it in. The free storm ..." He looked at the glass of the door, thought of it, the glass — a barrier. The storm evened out. It was like a field of raindrops. The infinitude of rain spread before him. He looked through every drop. He was looking at the edges. "Where am I?" he thought.

Lightning zagged before a tree. Inside the flash, the sea appeared.

Thunder turned, softly, bringing back, bringing back. Still, the rain poured. The good earth received. The good earth, from which a stiff forest rises. The good soil containing seeds. Every bit of growth was fresh. There was a light in the trees, curling through. He looked at the old hollow log — scattered leaves and bark still by its side. The rain swept over it, its soft bed of brush guaranteed for another decade. The other trees stood on; they seemed perfect for their lives. As they stood before each other, mingling through alternate spaces, their brown limbs and twigs seemed perfectly placed, made for each other. Their slender trunks were right, he thought. It seemed the rain hitting the ground was the only sound in the world. His mind wanted to wander now. "The beginning," the words came to him. He wanted to move now. But he dared not free himself yet. He tried his hand a little, as a test. He wondered about the strange life in the trees again. "Where are the animals?" he thought, looking. He looked at every way the twigs and branches on the ground were lying.

It was windy. The wind came against the glass door; it entered, weakened, through the window. He entered the wind, feeling its coolness. He watched it in the leaves on the trees, and on the rain. He thought of going outside, of being in the storm . . .. The wind knit a knot at his brow. "What is this, that…?" All sorts of things were going through his mind… He wanted to do something now.

Finally, he rose. He went to the partially open window, hearing the heat of the storm get louder as he approached. He threw the window open wider, and looked out in wonder. It beat mercilessly. The wind came up, and he felt some drops of rain strike his face. "Such drops," he thought, "to yield to such drops."

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

William Ray recently retired after teaching English for more than 30 years. He has also been an editor, freelance writer, and, of late, a café owner. His published work includes textbooks as well as poetry and poetic prose. On The Authority of the Moon, a "poetic essay" which is excerpted in the online magazine The Art Bin, is available in a Kindle edition at Amazon. Now with more time on his hands, he has re-opened his online journal, The Courtship of Winds.

Comments

By Geo Love on May 12, 2015 22:05 (UTC)

an incredible story and an awesome reading Mr. Ray. the music adds so much.

By A Southern person on Jan 15, 2020 23:25 (UTC)

This is so beautiful. I think he and Marcia Ball had a mind-melding about rain, and music came out of them both. So amazing.