In these waning days of summer, when the clouds hang low in crooked shades of blue, heavy with promise, it seems the Dixie storms of my boyhood home have joined the dark migration from the South to here.
Unlike my brown sister, I was not forced to leave by men in white robes, whose cries of hate in the dead of night remind me of the grinding thunder outside my window, the flashes of guns and fire crisscrossing that landscape long ago like the lightning inside the billowing sky.
I make it inside before the clouds open up, but my mouth is thick with the bitter taste of sulphur, my eyes blinded by the strikes, my ears ringing with the booming of ugly words, my heart filled with fear.
I have yet to find someone who can walk between the raindrops, who can step out into this tempest and not get wet. I must succumb to the baptism, confess my capitulation, and admit that I too have contributed to the din of divisiveness, to the howling hurricane of hate.
I cannot control the weather. Yet I can control my response to the storm.
I can wall myself off from the tempest or I can offer shelter to another who seeks refuge from the deluge.
I can let the thunder drown out my voice or I can let my silent prayers reseed the clouds.
I can cower in fear from the strike or step boldly outside, turn my face to the sky, and scream my resistance into the pelting rain.
I can listen with joyful ears as the ugly water disappears with a roar into the gutter, running blindly underground, until it dissipates with a whimper in the bright brine of the cleansing sea.