Storms

I don’t know what it is about weather, maybe that it seems utterly outside of our control, but various writers (Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan both come to mind) of all sorts appear to love weather. Storms especially are romanticized in a lot of works of fantasy. My work is not so different in this regard. The pillar universe may be strange, but there are still storms there.

Lately there have been a lot of storms sweeping the country. I guess its that time of year. Here on the great plains in Minnesota where the land is mostly pretty flat and the tall grass has all but entirely been replaced by fields of corn the storms bother me when they pass through with rain and thunder and tornadoes. It’s the last one that really bothers me, but that’s a story for another day. I can’t imagine how bad these storms would be for people without modern technology and warning systems living out here.

Imagine a turf house, or no house for the plains-peoples predating European settlement. Imagine a storm with all the force of tornadoes and the terror of thunder rolling over these places. Rain pounds down, and soon enough water begins to flow into the house and seep up from the sodden ground. How miserable the life a great-plains settler. Imagine how little help you’ll get if something worse should happen.

And to think, this is the beginning of the better set of seasons out here on the plains where winter can last so long even a modern person can forget what its like to see the sun and not have to wear several layers when trekking outside.

I couldn’t have done it. Of course, at some point my ancestors must have been able to manage rough living, but since they, on both sides, arrived in America from Germany in the early 19th century and even then settled in the East, I don’t imagine they were that different from me. Even as I type that I realize how silly it sounds to the ear. Of course my ancestors were tougher than I am. I grew up in the late 20th and early 21st century. I used Internet programs and encyclopedias as far back as third grade. Even if the first of my ancestral relatives to live in America didn’t strike out to the West they had to contend with hardships I pray I’ll never know.

There I go again, rambling. So much for storms, right?

I grew up on these corn-field plains, in this college-town valley, and I’ve had so little trouble from my environment its remarkable. Like so many modern people, the only real adversaries I’ve ever had to my well-being have been other humans. And even they have mostly been venal offenders in my case.

How does one grow up to romanticize storms? Perhaps one must grow up not knowing what they used to mean.

Destruction and suffering. All of history can look like one colossal human holocaust when one is tired on a rainy morning and feels hopeless from a chemical imbalance somewhere in one’s mind. I don’t mean to be a downer. That’s just how things come out when I sit down to write sometimes.

To think that those who suffered didn’t fear suffering as much as I do. To think that when a storm swept the great plains two hundred years ago, fear might come with it, but if everything turned out alright in the end people probably wouldn’t go on worrying about the little things. Real danger and suffering may well have ironed out human conditions.

So, enough pity for myself. I have a lot of issues other people don’t necessarily have, from autism to heaviness to misery, I can handle problems like this if I realize half of the trouble only exists because I let it. Then I can get back to romanticizing storms.

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