The storm churns off to the north just an angry low brow of fury and spit. All day we know it's coming and it may be puddles or it may be hail and lightning and wind, like the weather man says. Driving home you see it off in the western hills, but you don't feel it and it's balmy and sticky so your hair stands out in awkward curls and puffs in that way which has always meant there will be weather.
Coming over the little hill the dark wall is just behind the house, behind the forest, behind the road, but it's there, and it's moving. The first drops fall gentle like dew off a high leaf, so you walk slowly up to unlock the door that releases the dogs that have surely sat and stared and sat and stared at this door. Waiting all day for this moment. They spill out with a combined energy and force, springing into the damp woods and barking with a rage that remembers every sound and smell they contemplated over the course of nine long hours. They growl at trees and rocks and disappear down into the creek while you gather what's needed to collect eggs, account for stock, feed the beasts.
Nearing the coop there is a flurry of activity, a splash of color, leaping and sprinting forward through the grasses. The flock hoping for scraps; disappointed there are none. At this moment a howling whoosh of wind comes from high, bends the forest forward at once, the trees bowing down low beneath the clouds. You see it blowing leaves and twigs from the rooftop, watch the driveway dirt and gravel whip up into tiny funnels, watch debris flying in its path but you don't feel it yet. You only feel the damp and balmy and the stillness. Just then it slams you from behind. Knocked off kilter, your skirt around your waist, your hair tousled up and around and around and the bright cold chill is a wet smack of a palm against the back. So you call the dogs in, but they can't hear you for the rain that just started pounding. It is rain but might be hail, so it's better to run than walk although the weather has fogged your glasses, and you cannot see the road before you. But you run anyway and the weather has hit you completely from the front now, and the side, so you're running or flying with your long skirt carrying you this way and that. The dogs come loping alongside you from nowhere and their wagging tails beat ferociously against your leg. With foggy vision still, you discern a porch and hear the pellets of rain assault the metal, "BAM BAM BAM!" You're startled by the force of it. The weight. Then you're at the front door, and you swing it open. You, the dogs, the wind, tumbling in together to this warm space of quiet and dark. It's a guilty moment to run out of a storm with everything else you claim to love so hard standing in the raw spring.
But then you remember that this is the way of things. This is what happens, and what must happen. You remembered this late last night when a frail chick gave out its last puff of life, cupped in your hand. You remember this watching the crows huddle and lean in pairs up in the branches against the rain. You remember this as the new rooster runs out wildly against the wind, unsure precisely which way is home.
Here, it is cold or hot. It is wet or dry. It is shelter or exposure. It is life and it is death. And it is beautiful.