Have you watched a summer storm begin long before the sky gets dark? It begins with a smell in the air. Your grandma may have said something like “It smells like rain…” and then the slight breeze that doesn’t seem to be anywhere except in the trees begins to rustle the leaves. If you watch closely enough it is almost as if you can see the leaves turn themselves over so that their porous underside can soak up every drop of the coming rain.
Next the clouds begin to darken and the wind picks up a bit. If you are living on a farm you see the chickens and other small animals are anticipating the coming storm and they start to find some shelter. Some seem to not care and you understand where the phrase: ‘doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain’ originated. The larger animals seem to know when things are going to get really heavy. The cattle will group together and all of them put their backsides to the on-coming storm, huddled together for warmth and protection – there is a lot of common sense we could learn from animals.
Some of the larger animals that have a season or two on them are moving slowly toward the center of the field if the path to the barn isn’t open yet for feeding time… they begin to move toward each other, starting to form a protective huddle. That huddle can be good if the storm is going to come and then pass you by but if it is a real cyclone kind of storm burying your head in a huddle might keep your nose dry; but you’re sure enough risking another part of your anatomy that is best not left in the wind! It’s kind of hard to defend yourself from the onslaught of what is about to come your way when the only thing you can see is the other cow’s nostrils. Maybe, America, instead of being a bunch of befuddled bovine, we need to begin to act more like the wild mustangs who are defiant of the wind in their mane. They snort and flare their nostrils, raise back their head against the stinging rain and rare up on their back legs, striking out at the storm and the lightning flashes as if defying it to come and get them.
Certainly the animals that take shelter and huddle together, they know a storm is upon them are wise enough to recognize a storm before it hits. But unless they are completely resigned to just take whatever happens with a “just let me be and when its all over, if I’m still able to stand I will keep chewing my cud and hope the next storm isn’t as bad” attitude, they really have no hand in protecting themselves or the rest of the herd, including their little ones. The stallion, the defiant one stands against the storm as if to say, “Not on my watch! No storm is going to take my life, my freedom, or my off-spring from me!” America, a storm is coming… I can feel it in the wind. Are you ready?