We are expecting thunderstorms, so I go out to gather peas and raspberries before they arrive. The peas are stubborn. I have to rip some of them from the vine. I am rushing and they don’t cooperate. The sky is getting black and I hear thunder to the west. I give up on the peas and move to the raspberries. I tug and pull and gather, filling my basket. Midway through, as the thunder grows louder and the sky gets blacker, it occurs to me to ask permission of these raspberry canes and be grateful for their yummy fruit. Then, the berries come easily into my hand, almost dropping from the plants and I see the first flash of lightning. Back inside.

The storm gathers, gusts of wind flowing through the open windows and the thunder gets louder. I suddenly see the parallel between the storm and my feelings. Two days ago I lost my nineteen year old cat. My inner clouds were dark then, gathering, tension in the air. How would his transition be, would I have to help, would it be peaceful? The process was slow and uncertain, ugly at times, dark and brew-some: I had left a message for the vet. When I got back outside, Willie was gone. Not in any of this usually hiding places. I searched for the swarm of flies that had been flowing him, listened for his rasping, wheezy breathing and I couldn’t find him. I tried to listen to my heart and decided he had intentionally left, wanting to be alone, to spare me of the actuality of it, the choice, and decisions. But I spent the afternoon in agony, crying, wandering, looking, searching, trying to find peace.

Today, with the storm almost here, I now sit upstairs on my meditation pillow and feel the surges of the storm blowing through the window and recognize it’s like the gusts of uncertainty and angst that have been with me for the past few days.

I see all the parallels, the color, the smell, the sharpness, and hugeness of it all. And I remember that it will all pass and later, the sun will be out. I ask permission of this storm to contain me in it, so I can get through and out the other side. Cleanse myself of guilt and sadness. See it as a metaphor of weathering the storm and ending at peace. For certainly Willie has passed by now. Although I have no true knowing. I haven’t felt it. Two other cats disappeared when sick and I knew. One I had a rainbow and knew it was Tara. The other, I saw a coyote and heard Miss Rose purring when she wasn’t there, even before I knew for sure she was missing. But not with Willie. Nothing.

So I ask permission of the storm. And the loudest, scariest crash of lightening strikes within yards of my house, frightening the bejesus out of me. Is that a yes or no? Good lord, I have no idea. My heart is pounding; I pet my remaining cat to reassure him/me that we are fine.

The rain falls hard, pounding into the dirt, like my tears of yesterday. Pouring, gushing, drowning plants and insects; tearing my heart apart. It is still pitch black, the rolling thunder moving along the valley and echoing with each clap. I hear the call of a blue jay, a special totem for me, meaning I am not alone, and I wait.

I love thunderstorms, I love the volley of rumbles. I can only hope that this is my transition. My cleansing of the air, knowing that Willie has passed and moved on and is at peace and I can be now also. Once the storm is over.

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