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Posted Sep 07 2008 8:10pm

Sunday was the most beautiful day of the year.

New City was hit by the tail end of the tornado. It was that day that always comes in the fall, the wet and windy day when the streets and trees are black with rain, and the wind rips the leaves off the trees and whirls them around in eddies, making you feel as though you're caught in a storm of gold and red.

A branch big as a horse ripped off a tree and fell 5 feet from where I was standing. A close call, but I laughed and enjoyed it.

I've always loved storms. November, the beginning at least, has always been one of my favourite months. I like to stand in the rain and scream at the sky, pick leaves from my hair and feel water slosh in my shoes. It used to be that when I heard the phrase "I've never felt more alive," I didn't know what people meant. But then I made the connection. It's how I feel in a storm.

Falling in love is like standing in wind so strong it lifts your feet from the ground and makes you squinch your eyes closed to keep the dirt out. Your breath is whipped from your lungs, and you lose your bearings, and when you finally open your eyes again, the landscape is altered.

Cancer is also a storm, a winter storm filled with snow and howling wind so mournful it sounds as though the entire world is grieving. A winter storm is also blinding, but not because your eyes are closed. A winter storm is blinding even when your eyes are open. The world is both dark and bright; the cold burns your skin, and you feel completely and utterly alone. And when the storm is over, the landscape is more than altered; it is erased. There is a flatness to everything, all the landmarks you once knew are covered in an icy blanket. There is no way to find your bearings. So you walk, direction doesn't matter, you walk. You walk because if you don't walk, you will freeze. If you are lucky, you will find yourself somewhere more temperate, though suffering, perhaps, from a bad case of frostbite.

Sunday was the most beautiful day because it reminded me of falling in love. And when I was back, safe in my house, I cooked a dinner and baked a cake for my friends. We drank wine, and our dogs wrestled on the rug, and I wished that I was the kind of person to say grace because at that moment, with the wind wrapping around the house, and my friends inside, I was falling in love, and to me grace is the expression of that love. But instead we chatted and laughed and ate and drank, and I guess that itself is a kind of grace. Maybe the best kind.

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