Story: The Storm

This is a classic REFRAMING story – that adversity introduces man to himself

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the storm

The wind came at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Tam looked out at the trees around the house –some malevolent force had been loosed and was tearing at the branches. Each gust when it came was strong and furious as if trying to rip out the soul of the trees. As Tam watched the drama from the window, fascinated yet scared – crack! A branch was wrenched from the trunk the tree, held on by a thread – a casualty of the force unleashed on the land. Clouds sped across the sky, dark and foreboding.

          Hastily putting on his coat, Tam went out to check the doors of the outbuildings. He steadied himself against the wind that threatened to push him over. Struggling to keep his balance, he walked across the courtyard. The horse had been disturbed by the storm. Her ears were back, the whites of her eyes showing as she tossed her head in fear. Tam secured the doors as tightly as possible and returned to the house.

          Gina, Tam’s wife said nothing. Her mouth was a thin line of determination. Her body held her belief that if she carried on with her work, she could deny the truth of the disaster unfolding outside.  Tam opened his mouth but closed it again quickly. Fifteen years of living with her was enough to know that she wouldn’t say or acknowledge that this was the worst storm they had experienced.       

          Between the violent gusts of wind was a silence – a reprieve, and into that silence the loud ticking of the clock marked the passing minutes of their lives. Tam told himself the house was sturdy, that this as just another storm – they had survived storms before.

          A sickening sound broke into his thoughts – a groan, a tearing noise, followed by a crash. Tam’s mind raced. With an inner vision, he saw the tree falling on the outbuildings destroying the workshop and perhaps killing the horse. Other images, this time from his imagination, followed quickly – a nightmare mosaic of possibilities. He saw pots and equipment smashed beyond repair – his livelihood in ruins. 

Tam ran outside. A large tree had fallen onto the pottery workshop and the roof was damaged. Mercifully the horse, crazy with fear, was nonetheless alive. Tam retreated back to the house.

          At the kitchen table he put his head in his hands. Silently, Gina crossed the room, sat beside him and put her hand on his. It was comforting – as if her hand might prevent him from drowning. Gina was a woman of few words but when she spoke it carried authority:

          “Tam, remember when we first came here? We had nothing. This place was in a desperate state,” her arms swept the room. “We put the workshop together, we bought the new horse. How do you think we did that?”

          Tam stared at her. What was she asking him?

          “We did it because of the talent you hold within you and in your hands, that’s how, Tam. And we can do it again if we want to.” She paused. The clock ticked.

“Listen, the wind’s died back now. Let’s have some supper and give thanks that we have the house.”

          “And the horse,” added Tam.

“And the horse.”

They smiled at each other. Tomorrow was another day – a day when they would organise the removal of the tree. Then they would see what was to be done.