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KillgoreTrout On July - 13 - 2014

Over a week ago, a massive thunderstorm came rumbling by my neck of the woods, so to speak. It was completely awe inspiring, in every way. It was Mother Nature, reminding us tiny human beings that she was firmly in control. You think you’re so powerful, that you, tiny beings, have gotten some imagined control over me? Think again my darlings.

I live in an old converted motel that rests along the old sate route 40, that slices through the “rust belt,” or to be more precise, Ohio, in my case.. The complex that I live in is not really a “complex,” in any modern sense of the word. It is just two rows of old, concrete buildings that were originally designed to serve as motel rooms for passers-by, the traveling salesmen, the weary farmer and the tourist, that have been converted into “studio,” apartments.

Now, it is a home for the social weary. It serves as home for those who can’t afford better, those on section eight programs, and those who served time in the “big house,” and those like myself who have no decent credit history.

OK, so much for the description of my “hood.”

I began this rambling with a thunderstorm. A glorious, magnificent display of Mother Nature’s whimsical side.

I grabbed a chair and sat in front of my little home. My neighbor soon came out, drawn by the storm and a curiosity as to what his neighbor was up to.

My neighbor is an elderly gentleman of the black “persuasion.” as it used to be called. He is a wonderful person who has gone through many of the same hardships I encountered as a young adult. We swapped stories of drug use, and dealers and jailers. We sadly agreed that today’s youth just doesn’t have the fun we had. We could have lent a shoulder, each, to cry on, but neither Jim, nor I, has much stomach for that sort of nonsense.

But we came to a two-person consensus about the state of now and what now used to be, backed up by our individual, yet oh so similar experience. Just two old farts remembering.

Yet, there was something magical about that night, maybe the electricity in the air, the astounding lightening strikes, the pounding rain, the roaring wind, or the so, so freshness of the rain cleansed air.

When I think back, I realize that it was a combination of all those things. More importantly, it was two lost souls who garnered some real truths about life, and discarded pigmentation long enough to truly connect as human beings.

 

 

Written by KillgoreTrout

Once a wander, working vagabond, fellow traveler on this 3rd stone from the sun. Hurtling through space and time. Lover of books (especially the classics), all kinds of books from novels, poetry, essay collections, fiction and nonfiction and a big Kurt Vonnegut fan. I am a secular humanist and technically an atheist.....Taoist.

23 Responses so far.

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  1. Fergie1 says:

    A beautifully written and powerful story KT. Your description of this real connection with your neighbor, brought about by an event of Nature, jumps off the page with such fluidity.

    I have found many times that the most happenstance of meetings in wonderous circumstances have been the most memorable and enjoyable.
    Amazing coincidences of time, place, atmosphere on the spur of the moment prove so often to be the most fruitful in an emotional sense.

    Thank you for sharing this happenstance -- these are the things that help make the world a little brighter.

    The last sentence in your reply to Nirek: “I think the more we reveal about our imperfect lives and talk of making them better, the better life will be for everybody”, is SO powerful and oh so true if only more people would make it a reality.

    If we all only knew how to stop struggling and start living!!

    • Thank you much, Fergie. I think that it requires a little practice, to get out of one way of living and viewing life, and into another.

      For me, I just make it a matter of priorities. I ask myself, just what is really important to me? I’ve pretty much always placed great importance on time, and just how I should use it. We only have so much of it, you know! 😉

  2. Kalima says:

    This was a splendid read, KT. It felt so raw and real that it touched the very lightning bolt strikes that appeared in the darkened sky that night.

    Thank you sincerely for letting us peek into an intimate moment you shared with another person in your life. I enjoyed every word and emotion as you told it so very well.

  3. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    This sooooo moving in so many ways….there is a huge thunderstorm moving into my area right now. I will probably lose my internet shortly…so I will save my extended comments until tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this photo. and the personal revelations in your reflection….I had no idea…..

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this little piece, Murph.

      Take pleasure in the storm Murph. Mother Nature puts on the best of shows.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        kT- I am just in from my morning chores and wanted to reply to your post first thing. There is a rarely reported but more common than we realize lightning phenomenon……

        Ground to cloud wherein an earth-bound object initiates the strike to the cloud. The object usually sits on a promontory or has a profile that is higher than other object around. A static charge builds up in he ground around the object and then a cloud formation “draw the charge up, as the opposing pole for the discharge.”

        Here is an example.


        I have an image of such a charge rising up from your old hotel that is now home for the “socially weary.” illuminating the earth and the sky.

        Your comment has a raw honesty and is a powerful testament to those who continue to make a difference in the lives of others in what most would call “reduced circumstances.” As the lighting rises from your humble surroundings you light the darkness and make such a judgment foolish indeed.

        Murph

  4. kesmarn says:

    Homie, this piece is so wonderful on so many levels. It’s so very well written — with a powerful, clean simplicity.

    And it’s so beautifully frank. So candid. You make no excuses or apologies for where you are or where you have been. And why should you?

    (Then — there is the fact that I do love thunderstorms. I always have. To me they feel energizing and exciting. And I’m (foolishly) never afraid during them.)

    I live in a very blue collar, very working class area too. If people only knew what gems — what treasures — there are in these neighborhoods. I have the most amazing neighbors. They’re smart, kind, generous.

    When people drive past lower income areas, they never realize that there may be artists and deep thinkers there. Remember our bito? He was in a neighborhood touched by poverty. And he’d worked as a carpenter — but a carpenter who had studied philosophy at Indiana University. And there’s a Marine-Taoist-Poet there in an anonymous neighborhood in Ohio. 😉 There’s a mathematics professor a few blocks away from me here too.

    The world is full of wonder. Full of surprises. From the sudden storm to the discovery of a new friendship to the realization that neighborhoods many people ignore have a rich and creative life just below the surface.

    All you have to do is be open to it. And you were!

    • Thanks kes, for your very kind words. The world is indeed full of wonder. My neighbor and I had exchanged hellos many times, and small talk, but the night of the storm, for whatever reason, gave us an opportunity to just sit around and talk of many things, and by doing so, we really became friends instead of just someone who occupied the apartment next door.

      I thought it was a remarkable experience and leads me to hope that such a simple evening watching a thunderstorm, or a morning watching the sun rise, or whatever the stimulating circumstance may be, that people simply relax a little and actually talk TO each other and not AROUND each other. We all have so much more in common than we may believe.

      Can you imagine how such simple events, on a grand scale, would take the wind out of the sails of those who constantly try to divide us? Ah, call me a dreamer. 😉

  5. Nirek says:

    KT, you and I have a lot in common and a lot , not so much in common. We were both linemen, in the military, and we have New England in common. I never did drugs (my old man would have smacked me). You spoke before about Cape Cod. One of the many places I lived as a kid (Army brat) was Hingham Mass. My brother 3 years older and now gone got a 1954 Mercury back in 1962. He and I drove out to the Cape at about 90 MPH. He was kinda crazy.

    Your story brings back memories of my own. I thank you for that. I have not thought of some of those memories in a long time.

    • Thanks Nirek. Yes, we do have similarities in our lives and I guess that was my reason for writing this brief piece. We all share similarities in our lives. We all have the human experience. The notion of people having perfect lives is simply a myth.

      I think the more we reveal about our imperfect lives and talk of making them better, the better life will be for everybody.

  6. SueInCa says:

    KT

    The “home” you speak of, to me, sounds pretty good. I have, in recent years, gone minimalist. We downsized to a 1087 sq ft 3-2 condo and the rooms were very small so we had to get rid of tons of stuff. If you can believe it, when we had our yard sale in Reno we helped a newly married couple furnish their home almost completely. When we were going through this process, I looked around and thought, for what? Besides being able to help that couple, it took us a month to go through everything in the house and pack. We had all that “stuff” as George Carlin would say and we bought that big house because of that “stuff” In fact 3 or 4 months after we moved in, I had found a whole section of cabinets that were almost empty, oops, must find “stuff” to fill it and I did.

    Two years ago, we bought again. It is a 1500 sq ft townhome but guess what? I learned my lesson, we have not filled this house up with “stuff”. We have wide open space in the house and I like it, better yet, we could downsize again and not have too much to sell.

    There is something to be said for living simply. The only place I have overload is in my craft room but every single thing there is necessary :-) Just think if you had that big/medium “mcmansion” there is a good chance you would not have been out there to enjoy Mother Nature’s beautiful display and have a real down to earth dialogue with your neightbor. You might have been burned out from taking care of all that “stuff”. A nice long conversation with a new friend beats taking care of “stuff” any day.

    • Thank you Sue. I think, in some ways, that I’ve been very fortunate in life. I say that because I never really made a lot of money. I never got trapped into that whole material world thing. I probably would have if I had been making tons of money all these years, but I didn’t, and never really tried.

      I never saw money as something that I really needed beyond making it possible for me to live a simple, comfortable life. I’m not sure how I came to that point in my views on life, but I consider myself fortunate for things turning out that way. I guess I was more concerned about actually living life, than planning for retirement, or some magical day where everything would be perfect, if I just made enough money. 😉

      There is so much to be said about simplicity. Mainly, in my opinion, simplicity allows me to ponder and explore the complexity of life.

      • SueInCa says:

        KT
        I can certainly agree with your philosophy, at least for the past ten years. I worked for a major corporation and the money was obscene. If I named it, you would know it, in a sense, but not know it not having spent your career in banking(I am assuming here). It was Visa, the counterpart organization to MasterCard. The two are the member organizations for banks who issue credit cards and process merchant transactions.

        Anyway when Visa and Mastercard lost the lawsuits brought by Walmart and other merchants, Visa pretty much went in to panic mode and the first round of layoffs just in our small division was 245 in one day. I got a great package but was without a job. I took advantage of the 6 months UI and took the time to ponder. We ended up selling our half million dollar home and moving out of state buying a home for 168 thousand. I decided then that while I did need spending money, I did not need that much, so I decided to do an 8 and out the gate type of job. It worked out pretty well, bridging us to my husband’s social security and we eventually sold at the top of the market there and moved back to CA. Since that time, “stuff” has had little meaning except in my craft studio, “stuff” still has meaning there lol.

  7. monicaangela says:

    What a beautiful picture you paint with words KT…I love the scene you set. I love your openness and honesty. I too watched that storm that night, it was glorious. Here is a bit of poetry for you written by Siegfried Sassoon in 1918. The piece is called Storm and Sunlight. I like to think of it as The Storm and After the Storm.

    Here is the poem(s):

    I

    In barns we crouch, and under stacks of straw,
    Harking the storm that rides a hurtling legion
    Up the arched sky, and speeds quick heels of panic
    With growling thunder loosed in fork and clap
    That echoes crashing thro’ the slumbrous vault.
    The whispering woodlands darken: vulture Gloom
    Stoops, menacing the skeltering flocks of Light,
    Where the gaunt shepherd shakes his gleaming staff
    And foots with angry tidings down the slope.
    Drip, drip; the rain steals in through soaking thatch
    By cob-webbed rafters to the dusty floor.
    Drums shatter in the tumult; wrathful Chaos
    Points pealing din to the zenith, then resolves
    Terror in wonderment with rich collapse.

    II

    Now from drenched eaves a swallow darts to skim
    The crystal stillness of an air unveiled
    To tremulous blue. Raise your bowed heads, and let
    Your horns adore the sky, ye patient kine!
    Haste, flashing brooks! Small, chuckling rills, rejoice!
    Be open-eyed for Heaven, ye pools of peace!
    Shine, rain-bow hills! Dream on, fair glimpsed vale
    In haze of drifting gold! And all sweet birds,
    Sing out your raptures to the radiant leaves!
    And ye, close huddling Men, come forth to stand
    A moment simple in the gaze of God
    That sweeps along your pastures! Breathe his might!
    Lift your blind faces to be filled with day,
    And share his benediction with the flowers.

    You are blessed to have a friend with what appears to be much in common, to share moments like these with you. Continue to be blessed my friend. :)

    • That’s right my friend, you too saw that wonderful show. You’re very kind Monica. I appreciate your thoughts, a great deal. Thanks for the poems. I think our blessings often lie just under the surface of our daily lives, and we sometimes just need to do a little scratching from time to time.

      • monicaangela says:

        I would sure love to scratch that book out of you. You know, the one that is begging to be written by you, about you, for us. You have a real talent when it comes to writing, please take the time to get your experiences on paper, I believe you could help an awful lot of people if you do. Your book need not be biographical, it could be fiction or nonfiction with names and maybe events changed to protect the innocent or guilty as it may be. :)

        I personally will do whatever I can to help you get published. Promise you will consider this.

        • Funny you should mention that Monica. I’ve been considering a book for some time now. I will admit that it seems like a daunting task, and a little intimidating.

          I have to say to myself, JUST DO IT! Like the Nike thing. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

          • monicaangela says:

            Excellent, I hope when it is done you will consider and autographed copy for me. I will purchase the first one off the presses if possible. :) Don’t forget, if you, when you have finished your book, would like help getting it Edited and Published, I will be more than happy to help you with that. Here is a web page you might be interested in reading that might give you some ideas about writing, editing and publishing.

            http://angelashelton.com/8-steps-to-write-your-book/

            Get to work. I’m looking forward to reading what I know will be a page turner and a magnificent work of art from you. :)


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