February 23, 2003

Things That Go Boing in the Night

"What was that!?" I asked, as I sat bolt-upright in bed, staring wide-eyed into the darkness.

"I don't know but it was inside the house. I think" Ann offered groggily. "What do you think it could have been?"

Such is the way of the sleeping brain. It receives what the physiologists call the "raw percept"... the sound waves from... what?... make nerve impulses in the ear that reach the 'hearing' cortex and activate the 'alertness' part of the brain, but that last leg of the journey to full comprehension... the interplay of hearing and meaning... doesn't happen. So there you sit, awake, alarmed, having heard SOMETHING, feeling uncomfortably clueless.

It wasn't cold enough for it to be a pipe bursting (my worst winter-wee-hours fear); it wasn't a tree falling (the weather dudes missed their guess about the 60 mph winds last night, yet forecast for later today). Wasn't the dog, wasn't somebody on the road, not the phone, not the fire alarms. We scanned through the inventory of possibilities and came up with nothing, although we both agreed it was inside the house, and it was a metallic kind of sound, like a spring recoiling or something.

All this was taking place at ten after four this morning. It was about time to get up anyway (yes, even on a Sunday) so I begin the tedious winter process of dressing for the morning. Just then the dark room flooded with light and a split-second later the sharp peal of thunder reverberated down the sodden valley, around us, in us, as much a visceral feeling as a sound. There was no crescendo up to the climax of the storm. Like the mysterious noise that woke us, the peak of the storm came at once, before we could attach meaning to the raw percept of sharp metallic pinging. Hail was hitting the metal roof, bouncing down onto the porch roof, from there to the frozen ground just outside our window in an audible hiss. The roar of the wind and the rushing of the swollen creek screamed like twin banshees in a threatening howl that only added to the adrenalin of being startled awake just a minute before. The lightening flashed, the hail hissed and the creek growled and we pulled back under the covers as if they would protect us from the fury and violence just the other side of our walls.

The storm passed quickly, the power stayed on, and we threw the covers off and headed for the coffee pot. As soon as the light came on in the bedroom, I discovered what had startled us from sleep just as the storm began. The D string on my guitar had broken suddenly in a metallic twang, not ten feet from the bed. I have a guess that the sudden change in pressure from the storm may have triggered it. So, my old guitar had the honor of playing the opening note for The Tempest on Goose Creek in D Major. And on that note, I think I have earned another cup of coffee.

Posted by fred1st at February 23, 2003 06:22 AM | TrackBack

ooooooohhhhhhhh........storms! The best of nature!

Posted by: Da Goddess at February 23, 2003 12:22 PM

Cool entry!

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at February 23, 2003 11:47 PM

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