How come the things that make us happy make us sad
Well it seems to me that
Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain
There was just a CRACK of intense thunder in the air, and it made me really sad. Because that sound used to make me really happy. Now it sends my heart racing like it is right now because a year after the Waldo Canyon fires, every downfall can mean destruction.
I am no scientist, so please forgive my limited understanding of the issue, but basically, the fires last year left a burn scar. The lack of vegetation there means that rain has nowhere to rest I guess, so it can lead to flash floods with mud and debris.
Has led to flash floods, I should say. Last week was the last time I got happy at the sound of thunder. It’s been really hot for Colorado, and as I work outdoors, a bit of rain was nice; it was invigorating. But meanwhile literally around the block, three homes were being destroyed and parked cars were moving around.
So yesterday when it rained, it was scary. We’d been warned as a community for awhile now, that this could and probably would happen. The local papers have been doing an amazing job at laying out all the info, and there have been multiple town meetings on the issue. Places like Adam’s Mountain Cafe have sandbags, due to their location near the creek – usually beautiful, but not so awesome if it overflows.
Despite all of the warnings and even after last week’s flood, I was not prepared to see Highway 24 transformed into a sea of mud yesterday, with cars helplessly flailing about, controlled by other forces. The night I lost control of my car in early ’08 was the most terrifying night of my life, even moreso than the day of September 11th.
After September 11th, I stayed home for weeks from my freelance-yet-steady job in Manhattan, vaguely catatonic, fearing to go back to the greatest city in the world, the one I’d loved for as long as I could remember.
After I lost control of my car, it was a good year before I could be in one either as a driver or a passenger, and not experience rapid heartbeat at best, panic attacks at worst. And driving used to be one of my greatest joys.
Yesterday when it started to rain, I got scared, but I also tried to do what I hadn’t in the past, when associations with things that I loved took a turn for the worse. I stood outside, and tried to soak up literally and figuratively, everything that I’d always loved about rain – the scent, the feel, the sound of the thunder. It was amazing. The air was warm, but the drops of water were cold, and though they were not hail, there was a harder texture than usual to them.
Since I started writing this blog, the thunder got louder, and the rain came down harder. Now it seems to be clearing up and winding down, and I hope everyone is okay. But it just felt like, necessary, to not put on the news this time. Between living in such a tiny town and the Internet itself, AND not having a car even though I’m not skurred of them anymore, some days it really does feel, to quote Jenny, that “the weight is crushing down on my lungs; I know I can’t breathe, and hope someone will save me this time.”
I suppose I’m going to have to save myself. That the longer I live, the more the things I used to view as perfect will gain bad associations. Shannon used to grow weary of how after I’d get dumped by a dude, I couldn’t go to like, multiple movie theaters and restaurants, due to woe where happiness used to be. And she told me what her little sister Caitlin said: that instead of thinking, “Oh this is the place where I used to go with so-and-so, and so it’s sad now, I will choose to say, hey this is now the place where I’m with my awesome sisters/friends.”
Fantastic. Yet something I forget all the time because I’m crying over the fallen trees in a beautiful forest.
In the summer of 1990, I felt myself getting really callous, emotionally. That was the time I spent in equal parts reading non-fiction books about serial killers and going to Christian rock concerts. While I didn’t see them live, Petra via CD urged me to not let my heart be hardened. There was something peaceful though, about letting numbness wash over me, and that was scarier than the wracking sobs and fear that could sometimes overtake me.
23 years later, I still don’t want to let my heart be hardened. But in order for that to happen without having a nervous breakdown, I need to, in the words of Olivia Newton-John, “Toughen up! Enough is enough!” I’m almost 38 and can’t spare a year anymore, to stop having fear struck into my heart over things that I always loved and are usually harmless.
Starting with thunder ❤