Friday, October 15, 2010


The first fingertips of rain tap the windows, then grow more insistent. The pattering is a signal, and the drum in my chest quickens its tempo in response. The sky growls, and something rises and expands deep inside me. My body is thirsty for the storm. I flash upstairs to change clothes, and then leap back down, pulled magnetically to the door. I don’t bother with socks or shoes. My body begs me to let go, and I comply, bounding out of the shelter of my house into the torrent. I pause in the driveway to lift my face to the rain, and the darkness above me shudders and cracks. The raindrops fall heavily, but I feel lighter with every pounding drop. The water streams down, and I can’t stay still any longer. I let my body take over.

The wet pavement is rough and familiar to my bare feet. With each step, my toes reach to embrace the curves of Earth. I marvel at the textures. The white paint of a crosswalk delights me in its smooth slipperiness. I don’t shy away from the gravel; the pressure doesn’t prick my calloused soles. My strides are light and quick, and my body relaxes into the motion. I breathe to the rhythm. I run through the center of town, but today it is new. The car headlights are streaky stars through my eyelashes, and I race them, my legs lengthening and reaching, faster and faster. The sky splinters and falls to batter the ground, and in the tumult I lose the sounds of my feet striking the ground and my lungs pulling for air. I am silent, and my silence makes me light, so light in the darkness of the rain. I overtake hooded passers-by on the sidewalk, and feel them watching as my bare feet lift me away. The sky threatens to collapse. They shrink from the lightning, huddle from the rain that my own body strains to touch. I feel them wondering, but I’m already gone. I hope they watch me go. I hope they see me. I feel like something wild and beautiful, and I want to share it, this power that pulses and rages inside me. I am a wood nymph, a winged huntress, a stormy goddess. I’m not self-conscious. The water cloaks me, pricks and wraps my bare skin. I’m gleaming. I’m gliding. The wind weaves and stirs the leaves into a shimmery wet frenzy, and though my hair is pulled back, it twists and stings my neck like Medusa’s snakes, writhing to be free. My skin is cold, but a fire burns inside me.

My entire being resonates with the rhythm of my muscles. The sky glowers and glares, flashes and booms. It rips; it tears. I want to sing, I want to howl, I want to race. The motion is natural, instinctive as breathing. My heart beats for this. My lungs fill for this, I know it with every sharp, exalted breath. My muscles pulse heat through my body.

I run defiantly, blindly into the wall of water. I don’t need to see. I have my breath. I have the rain. I have the ground. I don’t care where I’m going. I don’t run for distance, or time, or speed. I don’t care what I’m wearing, or who sees me. This is my worship, my release, my escape, and my captivity. The hurt and the joy is excruciating, and I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. This is what I was born to do.