Good Friday, Easter, thunder
Jake loves snow!
Even before our eleven-year-old black lab hears thunder, he looks for a place to hide.  He lives in our kitchen where we have a wood floor so if he isn’t there when we come in the back door—we panic, “Where’s Jake?”  Several times lately we have found him in the basement—hiding in open view.  We scold and call him back to his designated place.  His black tail hanging between his legs shows his contrition.  But just wait for the next hard rain or loud clap of thunder, and he’ll defy his life-long training and head for the basement.
We know how he “thinks.”  At least five years ago during a daytime tornado warning, Fritz took him to the safest place in basement.  They huddled together until the storm abated.  When similar conditions come, he knows what to do: seek shelter away from windows in the center of the basement.  It used to be only thunder, but now he’ll take any windy, rainy excuse.  If one of us is in the kitchen he will lean in, without a hair-space between us.  He wants to be as close as possible in times of danger.
Yesterday was Good Friday.  I was hoping that I’d see the clouds lifting about noon just as they did when Jesus was crucified and he said, “It is finished.”  I remember several Good Fridays past when that happened; reminding me in a very visual way that resurrection always follows Good Friday.  But this year that picture did not come. 
We all got scared when yet another storm came in late evening, with thunder and lightning surrounding us.  Jake inched up to Fritz’s chair on the carpet and wasn’t scolded.  Because the storm still raged at bedtime, we put a towel over the window in the place the dog sleeps and after much patting and reassurance, closed the door.  I draw a line about dogs in bed.
I was reminded of a meditation I wrote long ago as part of a series on “clouds,” using Exodus 19:16 – On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountains and a very loud trumpet blast.  Everyone in the camp trembled.
It told of another black lab, Cygnus, who was so terrified at thunder he once jumped from the back deck, through a window into my son’s bathroom and huddled in the bathtub.  It also mentioned my then two year-old granddaughter, who during a storm hid under her Mom’s skirt and declared, “I don’t like funder!”
The storms are supposed to be over.  Jake and those of us who hate “funder” or other frightening parts of life or the sadness of Good Friday—have the assurance that we’ll soon see the Easter glory we have all been waiting for.  


 
 
Picture
Goldfinch pair
Spring, 2011 is having a hard time coming this year.  A few early signs before high winds, hail and even snow dampen our enthusiasm.  But one sign that comes, rain or shine, is the sounds.  Quiet walks during the winter have given way to a chorus of bird calls each morning and frog songs all night.
Hearing is believing.


A passage from April, in All Nature Sings: A Spiritual Journey of Place:
Already the finches are sprouting their yellow feathers—dapple green isn’t going to attract the ladies. Oh, the calls all those birds make this time of year. It’s downright noisy early in the morning, as male and female try to attract each other from the treetops. 

The redwing blackbirds call with a clear, pure sound. I hear the scratchy caw of the sandhill crane long before I see their long, flexible necks waving above last year’s grasses. 

Yesterday one sandhill called and another answered from somewhere across the tail of the lake. I imagine she had found a place to call home and wanted him to join her. Many birds fill the air with sound but move too fast for me to identify. In April I always wish I knew more about birds and their habits. But this much I know: They have survived the winter and have come out singing!