Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From Storms to Cats to Bad Poetry

April showers are rather torrential for May flowers to be coming along any time soon.

I've realized with living in the city that I have trouble distinguishing between the low roars of planes hovering over my neighborhood and that of the constant roll of thunder. The sound is similar between these two things and when I realize that I'm usually sticking my ear out for an aircraft, I grow disappointed in the fact that there won't be any thunderstorm spectacle for me to witness. Like every overly romantic woman who fills out an online dating profile, I love a good thunderstorm. I used to be petrified of them when I was a kid since the seven-year-old version of me equated thunder, rain, and any breeze strong enough to rustle a tree to a deadly tornado. I used to watch the horizon from the westward-facing picture window in our kitchen, waiting for some sort of ominous funnel cloud to touch down on the prairie and make its way to our yard to destroy everything I knew within the two acres we resided. It never happened. Though tornadoes are totally possible in North Dakota, I've never actually seen one in person. The closest I've come is witnessing a funnel cloud form in a blue-gray sky above my cousin's wedding reception in central Minnesota a few years ago.

Tonight I dismissed the thunder for a busy day at the airport, but then the rain started and I was happy. Thunderstorms remind me of home and they make me feel like I'm out on the prairie again, even though I'm within the confines of the city. It's dark now, so no matter where I am, I wouldn't be able to see the storm glowering down on us. Still there's always a part of me that wants to jump above the buildings and trees that surround me to get a glimpse of just how brilliant that lightening is; how dark those clouds are; how likely there is for a funnel to touch down. When I moved here, I never realized that the lack of a horizon would be so disorienting during a summer storm. North Dakota lets you see the weather before it hits you. It puts a storm into context and gives you a rough timeline of how long it's going to be before the lightening is overhead and the rain is taking over outside.

Whenever it rains like this I still give a quick rundown of everything I own that could possibly be outside, even though it's only a car that I have out in the elements year-round. I still give a thought to my long-dead cat, Kate, who I always would mentally check when I heard the thunder and rain take over outside. There were the times when my check would result in the realization that he was still outside, and a quick dart to the door would reveal his tiny and wet body sitting on the stoop, waiting to be let in. The joys of having an indoor/outdoor cat. I'd take care of him though and dry him off with a towel and cuddle him on the couch; happy that he was safe and sound.

Tonight the thunder is rolling and the rain is falling and I purposely opened my window to let the sound of falling water into my apartment. I thought of Kate, even though he's been dead for 15 years, and took comfort in the fact that there isn't a miserable animal outside who is my responsibility. While I think I would love to have a cat again, I can't. My apartment won't allow it. And I don't know if I'm willing to put out the money and time needed for even something as low-key as a cat at this point. Plus cats, I've learned, are temperamental. Kate was an exception to the hot/cold and unpredictable nature of most felines. Three things to know about him:

1. I named him Kate despite his maleness because I was three when I met him and was under the impression that all cats were female.
2. The name Kate was inspired by my favorite letter, K. I liked the sound. It is a female letter to me (more explanation on that here). And as I mentioned before, all cats to three-year-old Samantha were girls.
3. Kate had three legs. He was my three legged cat with half a tail. I was always told he was run over by a lawnmower. I have a firm belief that this disability lead to his ability to be as chill and laid back as possible.

I have to admit, Blog. The recent memory of my childhood pet led me to delve into my storage compartment downstairs in search of a picture of him. Alas, I couldn't find one. I did find, however, something that I had feared I left on Ryan's bookshelf in the haste I had moved out of his house: my pathetic yet inspiring journal of poems from high school. Every overly romantic girl who writes about her love of poetry on her online dating profile has one. I thought mine had been swallowed by Maple Grove, but it hasn't. It is here, safe with me. It has the complete Makeup Bag Trilogy along with a bunch of other songs I wrote when I was a teenager; intact yet forgotten by the years of dormancy my songwriting mind has been in. It's good to know I still have it. Thanks to the thunder, to the rain, and to the distant memories of my three-legged cat, I've happened upon a wealth of bad poetry, handwriting, and a couple brilliant songs.

There's a mosquito bite on my leg
It hurts a lot
But not as much as when I lost you
My makeup bag
My face is now so white
My eyes look as if they have no sight
But it's all for the better
It doesn't really matter
People can see the real me

Trust me, Blog. It sounds better with a guitar behind it.


  1. YEAHHHHHH!!!! The Ultimate Treasure! Yeah makeup bag song! Hi Blog. My name is Ariel. I had the pleasure of growing up with Sam for some years and being around when she first started playing songs writing poetry and being brilliant. Sam's writings where are huge part of me growing up and part of what made; study hall so much better, hang out time incredibly awesome and my life in North Dakota so grand :) I am inspired to this day when I think of all the songs she wrote. So incredibly prolific! She picked up the guitar and it was like she just started channeling all her great universal self and feelings in epic songs on that guitar. One of my favorite things IN THE WORLD - Sam. Playing her Guitar. Those brilliant songs floating around in the atmosphere as thick and present as rain and storm clouds on the prairie, electrifying the air around us. Thank you Sam for your songs! And thank you rainstorm for leading her to find them once again :) -Ariel

  2. MAKEUP BAG SONG! OH Sam, I teared up a little. I miss you, I miss college nights in dorm rooms with guitar. I miss you singings. I miss friends. I love you and dear Ariel.