Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Great Turning

I was unable to find any still radar or satellite images of the massive storm that swept across the American midwest yesterday. These pics of the elephant in the rotunda of the American Museum of Natural History will have to suffice as metaphors of the mighty storm.

Anyone who knows me understands I believe with all my heart that the weather explains everything. Anytime there is a Big Weather Event I pay close attention, just in case there's some bit of wisdom or insight to be gained.

Yesterday, above the U.S., a huge gathering of atmospheric energy became more than a sum of its parts. The gathering organized itself, began to spin, then bore down on the midwest all day long, dumping snow, sleet, ice, rain and tornadoes, the furious offspring of great storms. This huge entity looked like it was centered on Missouri, the state where I grew up and in which there are many dear friends and family. Maybe that's why I couldn't take my eyes off the radar images all day long. The satellite pictures were incredible; it looked like a hurricane. The weather people said it was the largest winter storm since the 1950's. Whew!! Though only the edge of the storm grazed DC late last night in the form of a very cold rain, I believe I established a rapport nevertheless, through the radar images, and from reports coming in all day from friends across Missouri, in Oklahoma, Ohio and Illinois.

Yes I "got" something from the storm, though I'm not yet able to articulate its message. If I can think of how to express it, I will write more about it.

Meanwhile, it's Groundhog Day. There isn't any species of rodent in DC who saw its shadow this morning, no way. I suppose that's good news, yes? I guess.

My pledge to Bridgid this year is pretty simple: I will be generous. (Imagine the clang of a hammer on the anvil, to seal the pledge.) So be it.

Today's offering, from the Book of Hours:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

--Rainer Maria Rilke


The Pollinatrix said...

This storm is really something. It has been reflected in the way my family has been interacting in the past few days - we've just all been more irritable and quick to snap at each other than usual. Turbulence, for no logical reason.

I must have that same Book of Hours, because I read that poem yesterday!

I don't have the time or space for solitude to do an elaborate of a ritual for Brigid's day this year, but I do like the idea of making a dedication, and then planting the rosemary seeds I have on hand. I'll have to make some time today to do that. Thanks for the inspiration!

Vicki said...

What a magnificant beast in all ways. A picture is worth a thousand words... Great post Reya!

The Bug said...

A falcon, a storm or a great song - wow. I think I'm a still pond...

We had lots of freezing rain, but the high winds blew most of the ice away. Except for our road & driveway - they're still treacherous. But my drive to work was uneventful, except for keeping the car in its lane with the gusting wind about me. Thank goodness.

ellen abbott said...

It blew in here Monday night with a heavy rain and then temperatures started to plummet. and windy, it has been steadily windy since, the wind chimes ringing non-stop. there's a thick layer of ice in the water collector and the two tubs full of my water plants. not supposed to get out of the 30s today. I hope all my northern friends are holding steady and keeping warm but am oh so thankful a little wind and frozen water is all I have to endure.

tam said...

One of my favourite pieces of Rilke. The weather is quite something the last couple of months. Extremes and anomalies everywhere.

Reya Mellicker said...

Tam - yes - I was looking this morning at images of the cyclone off the coast of Queensland in Australia. Yikes!

Bug, why do you always diminish yourself? The Sufi acupuncturist would ask you the same question. You're magnificent. C'mon.

Ellen glad it's no more than wind and freezing temps for you. Other Texas friends are dealing with rolling blackouts, and my poor Oklahoma friends are literally stuck in their house, since the snow drifted several feet up against their front door.

Tom said...

yeah, i got something from that weather
no white fluffy snow as light as a feather
wielding my shovel, a struggle it's plain
and when it's all gone will moan with back pain.

ok...enuf rest, back to it--perhaps i'll see one of our native whooly mammoths out and about

Reya Mellicker said...

Tom - ha! I also loved your description of your dog as "adorkable."

janis said...

perfect metaphor! Mighty storms indeed. Kind of scary...

Jo said...

I'm rarely left speechless (as you well know), but this post has me in awe filled silence.

The images and the words? WOW.


Adrianne said...

One of my favorite Rilke poems.

Amanda said...

what a lovely pledge to brigid - there is something hauntingly beautiful about knowing the ground is trembling underneath all this ice and snow.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful post, poem, pledge

definitely one of the strangest storms in recent times. thank goodness we were spared power outages -

i'm giving thanks that i was told i no longer had a 'seat on the bus' (although it was a car) the thought that i could have been on the road during this storm gives me more than shivers....i do believe the goddess was looking out for me and works in mysterious ways!!!


Reya Mellicker said...

Oh god, Kim, the angels were watching out for you!! Wow.

Jo, thank you so much. I'm puzzled - why is this such a good post? Don't mean to be dense; I thought it was just so-so. Is it because you watched me engaging with a storm up close and personal? Hmmm . But THANKS!!

Yes Amanda, this is the time of quickening. I saw some crocus leaves today in gardens downtown, just poking up an inch or two above ground. It's coming!!

steven said...

reya from early early this morning in fact as the day before became this day, the sky and air filled with whirling spinning flakes and then thunder and lightning . . . . the atmosphere was softly electric. nearer the ground there was a flow of current that when tapped into carried tremendous presence... gifts were freely available today for anyone who opened the hands of their heart. i rode it like a skateboard - maybe with more success! a beautiful storm - some of my students came to school today and we were out in it on a hill just letting it blow past and through us! steven

Meri said...

Lovely Rilke. Horrible storm. And Australia's not doing so well either.

Tess Kincaid said...

I'll be interested to hear what you got from the storm, Reya. Amazing elephant. wow

Washington Cube said...

I've been looking at that elephant ever since I was a teeny tiny little girl. It upset me they killed him and stuffed him. So much for education in a museum.

Val said...

when that elephant was browsing on his last acacia tree in Africa - i bet he had no idea what the future held for him! maybe storms are like that - we take them and make them our own?

cant wait for your interpretation!

izzy said...

I landed here because of The Bug- and
Rilke (and poetry bus) thank you for these lovely images and writings.
Surely we have opportunity to expand and experience these awe inspiring concepts "... a falcon, a storm or a great song ?" Not to mention majesty of elephants, whales and weather-

Barbara Martin said...

The elephant photo is awesome.