The potential of gathering charges

Driving to school, I feel the stress accumulating. It’s like there are free-floating electrons of anxiety in the atmosphere, and I’m greedily scooping them all up. A big stress hoover.

As I drive along, thinking of electrons, a memory tugs at me: childhood shock wars. I haven’t thought of this in years, but suddenly I remember it all so clearly. How, once upon a time, my brother and sisters and I would put on our thickest socks and scoot our feet across the rug in large swooping steps, skating across the carpet. How we’d dodge and chase each other, not lifting our feet, still scooting, hoping to pick up more and more and more charge. Finally we’d stretch out, connect, and a bolt of shock would release from one to the other.


“Ouch!” we’d yell. Or, “That was a good one!”

And then we’d laugh and laugh, and start scooting again.

I’ve been lingering in childhood memories lately and bracing for the next shock, whatever it might be. Missing my dad. Missing my friend. Grieving my newly lost stepmother. Mourning my relationship with my brother who’s chosen to remove me from his life. Trying to come to terms with this odd place and time called middle age.

On this particular November morning, as I reminisce, the day is brightening around me. Sunrise is imminent. I notice the dark grey clouds gathering above the horizon. I try to remember what I once learned about clouds. Aren’t there electrons hanging out there, too? I’m pretty sure there are electrons in the clouds, and that when enough of them accumulate, they stream downward. Then protons surge upward, and …

Boom! Zap! Lightning! Thunder! Power unleashed.

As I watch, that potential is gathering on the horizon. It could mean a devastating storm is brewing, or even a minor one, but for right now, the clouds merely seem intent on enhancing the sunrise, sending fractured rays of lights to shimmer through layers of pink, gold, and blue. Without them, the sunset would not be nearly as spectacular. That’s something to remember.

12 thoughts on “The potential of gathering charges

  1. For now, this moment, we will just admire the clouds, the sun, remember a good memory. There will be plenty of time for rain… later.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gailaldousmsncom says:

    Molly, childhood shock wars! What a great memory of your siblings and you! Greiving is a long process and sometimes memories will pop up, as your one did above and remind us of moments with loved ones. Remember these moments with tears or happiness, do what you need to do. Take time to grieve, but also take time for yourself to be present in nature observing the sun, clouds, moon, birds, animals, rivers, ocean, flowers…
    sun + birds + rivers + flowers = rejuvenation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, I felt the sting of grief throughout your introductory section. When I read this line, “the clouds merely seem intent on enhancing the sunrise”, I knew your thoughts opened up to a new possibility. Find as many moments that will dazzle your eyes. Your friends are here to push away the bumps in the road…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn says:

    You are tapping into big truths. I heard Ross Gay speak last night, and read bits from his newest book INCITING JOY. His main thesis is that joy is not a frivolous emotion, and that it is entirely dependent on sorrow, and how we tend to each other in times of sorrow. And I have this quote copied in my notebook: “I remind myself that it is not wrong to exult in the beauties that remain. I remind myself…that loss and love will always belong to each other, that sorrow has always been joy’s quiet twin.” –Margaret Renkl in a NYT opinion piece on 11/21/22

    Liked by 2 people

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Mary Lee. “that loss and love will always belong to each other”–how profound that is!

      Liked by 1 person

    • margaretsmn says:

      Mary Lee, I love this comment and quote.
      Molly, Your post about electrons and charges in clouds reminded me of my father. He was studying this very idea just days before his stroke. He loved science and especially astrophysics. It was all lost on me. But, like you, I can watch the clouds and find some comfort there.


  5. Your opening lines grabbed me feeling so familiar. And your move to look for light in the storm, your use of science terms is beautiful. And, still, I wonder how the rush to joy invalidates the grieving which must takes place. Your writing is beautiful and I too am looking for “fractured rays of light” while still in the darkness. Take good care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Melanie. I do think, too often, we rush to push our grief aside. I’ve actually been writing a bit about that, contrasting our current traditions with those of the past. There’s something to be said for draping oneself in black. Wishing you rays of light in your dark times. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tabatha says:

    I heard a radio program about grief today when I was driving home. One of the commenters said that sometimes grief almost drowns you and sometimes it supports you in the water. Holds you, even? Sort of like the clouds playing different roles. xo


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