The Life of a Storm:

Atop the canyon wall, the hawk sat, calmly watching the clouds roll in over the mesa below. Slowly the shadows crept over the rocks, blocking out the sunset which would have been just as beautiful as the storm now approaching. The hawk ruffled his feathers and surveyed the weather below him, letting out an eerie screech he launched himself into the air and out to the mesa below. After some time, the storm began to finally come together, and the collected boom and crash of the thunder announcing the new power in the air. Screeching once more, the hawk folded his wings and pulled into a steep dive. Soaring through the air at great speed, his feathers beginning to be pelted by the rain, the hawk pulled up, catching the tips of his wings on a slight breeze now blowing over the desert. The rain came in, as it rarely did in the desert in a torrent. The drops came in so fast and close together dust and sand were sent up into the air only to be driven back down again by the rain. It came in sheets so thick and fast the hawk was almost forced to land, until the rain slowed and he could fly steadily onward. He flew low and fast along the ground, barely missing the rocks and cacti that were spread sparsely around. Another shriek pierced the dusk as the hawk called out to the storm. Leaving the earth behind, the hawk looked once more to the sky and the rain. Soaring upwards spinning in tight circles the hawk climbed onto the hot desert drafts that were not cut off by the rain. It was a desert, it would always be hot. The beauty stretched out before him as he looked upon the mesa bottom being pelted by the constant hammering of the rain. Lightning sang out in the air, the hawk flew by, hearing the thunder and feeling the power of the bolt. Flapping his wings fast, he ascended to the very bottom of the cloud, his back barely touching the ominous black underside. Dangerous as it was, the hawk felt sudden thrill in this risk, for what was life without risk? Thunder booming all around him the hawk looked around once more. Leaving the very tip the hawk sailed downward once more, calling out into the swirling stormy air. Spotting a mouse at the bottom of a rock, the hawk plunged down through the currents surrounding him. Revealing his talons the hawk swooped silently upon the mouse, breaking its tiny neck and making a meal for himself. Suddenly he looked up from his dinner, on the rock above him something moved, a pair of bright eyes gleamed from on top of the boulder. He screeched a warning. This was his meal, rightly won. Ruffling his feathers outward to make himself look much larger than he actually was, the hawk screeched another warning, but it didn't drive whatever it was away from the rock.

The hawk from below took off, leaving the fox with her young kit, who was slightly puzzled about the hawk. Rain pellets driving into the fur of both the mother fox and the kit, they hurried off, their tails dripping slightly as the rain overcame them. Thunder crashed above the two mammals as they hurried onwards to their den. Mother fox making sure that the young kit would make it, she walked behind him. Slowly they wandered amidst the boulders on the mesa bottom, letting the small streams of water now running downhill wash off their paws. Nearing their den the mother fox let out a small yip telling the kit to hurry up. The power in the air and the rain dripping down her nose made her unaware of the predator nearby, but he waited. The kit made it into the den, and so did the mother fox, who paused to sniff curiously at the air before vanishing down her hole. The enclosed dirt hole was warm with mother and kit, their small furry bodies warming their mud-lined cave. Slipping into a light sleep, the mother fox curled around the tiny furry body next to her. For several hours they lay that way until the young fox whined and pawed at his mother's nose. He was hungry and she needed to get him some food. Stretching slightly the mother fox exited the den with the kit, leading him out into the mesa, still besieged by the storm. Rain droplets fell down her nose. Suddenly off to the right, a howl came. The predator plunged out of the nearby outcropping of rock and lunged at the foxes. The coyote snarled and began to circle them, rain running off his teeth. He was hungry and thin, and in the rain his scent had been undetected by the normally alert foxes. The mother fox stood in front of the kit that was hiding behind her leg. She raised her teeth in an equally vicious snarl. Slowly approaching in a circle, the coyote unpredictably lunged out at the fox's leg biting into the flesh and bone. Squealing slightly the mother fox tried to stand tall as the blood ran down her foreleg. The coyote jumped past her and took the kit by his teeth. The kit yipped and whined scratching out at his predator. The mother fox leapt at the larger mammal, scratching his eye. The coyote ran off, kit still in his mouth over the rocks. The mother fox stood alone in the rain, letting the water pool around her legs and drooping tail. Her kit was lost to the coyote, but all was not lost because she was still alive. What was life without loss? She sat down and licked her bleeding leg letting the rainwater do some of the work. Limping off into the distance, the mother fox left her kit behind. After several hours of scampering through the underbrush with her wounded leg, the fox came upon a small town out in the middle of the desert. No one was outside but the lights were shining cheerily from the underside of the roofs that were still being rained on. The fox sat under an outcropping of rock, letting her fur dry off. One of the doors opened and a young boy stepped out. Running out into the rain, the mother fox could see that he had been crying, or perhaps it was the rain? His face was certainly turned into a saddened expression, he had been crying before this possibly. The boy jammed his hands into his pockets and marched resolutely out into the rain. The fox stirred and looked into the eyes of the boy who noticed the fox in a few moments, letting his eyes adjust to the gloom.

The fox sat under the rock looking fairly drenched. Apparently she had been for a while.

"No burrow for you tonight fox?" The boy said quietly, not wanting to frighten the animal away. The fox stiffened shook herself and ran once again into the night, still with a slight limp. "I hope you're ok…" he started again, sad that the fox had left him. He had decided to leave his mother for the evening, she was yelling at him for being a spoiled brat, and he wasn't! He had only wanted the certain toy from the market and his parents weren't going to buy it for him. The boy slumped under the rock that had once been a temporary stay for the fox. Whimpering quietly to himself the boy hugged his knees. Looking out once more he saw the same door he had exited open, his mother stepped outside. Holding her skirt to her knees, she looked around.

"Evan? Where are you Evan?" She called into the growling air. Thunder boomed in the distance, causing the boy to leap slightly. He was crying still, and he heard his mother's voice. Sniffling, he leapt out from under the rock and ran to his mother. Rain drenching his clothes he stepped into her welcoming arms. She was worried he could tell.

"Here Evan, we'll buy you the toy tomorrow, please don't run out like that again," She said her words catching. "You had papa and I scared." Smiling happily, the boy hugged his mother tightly and ran indoors. For what joy it was for a child to get a toy. Such simple things can make you happy when you're young. Why not enjoy being innocent and naive? His mother smiled once he was inside sitting by the television watching his favorite show.

The mother looked out into the dark sky with the boiling clouds. She sighed and stared back inside to her young son who was watching television. She would be out here a while yet, she couldn't enter the house quite so soon. Sitting down on the small bench under their roof she watched the rivers running down the street. Patting her skirt the closed her eyes and listened to the storm. This was why she had moved out here in the first place, the peace and quiet. She had grown up a city girl and would always be like that at heart, but the peace was something else. Sighing once again and straightening the mother entered her house. Smiling as she watched her son she walked into the kitchen. He had really frightened her running off like that. Her son was her life and she would die in an instant for him, he represented everything about her. The mother was glad she had enjoyed such a simple happy life. For having a child was such a joy in itself, life was little without a child. Grabbing the broom she began sweeping away food debris from the kitchen floor. Their dinner still sitting out, the mother dusted around until she had finished the kitchen. Then she put away the pork roast she had prepared several hours earlier. Thunder cracked sharply overhead, and the lights flickered. The electricity would go out soon. The mother sighed and finished the dishes. Sure enough, a couple minutes later in the middle of the son's favorite show, the power went out. The mother flicked on a flashlight and held her son close, he was frightened by the storm and she wanted to protect him. Hearing the rain ticking off their roof was a relaxing sound, the lightning passed but the rain continued. The lights stayed off. Thunder growled off in the distance rumbling on its way. Suddenly the mother realized that her garden wasn't protected for this kind of rain. Panicking that her small store of crops had been ruined from this one event the mother told her son to stay and gave him the flashlight. She dashed out of her house, and covered her hair with her hands she ran into her backyard, her bare feet slapping against the muddy grass. Quickly throwing a cover over the garden that she had worked on, she noticed that there wasn't extensive damage, nothing she couldn't fix tomorrow. Turning around she heard two people walking as quietly as they could down the street. Then she saw them, a young teenage couple holding hands and practically tiptoeing down the street, altogether a funny sight to witness. She put her hands on her hips and watched them pass. Smiling slightly she turned and walked inside to her son.

The couple wandered down the streets their pant legs dragging in the water rolling down the street from the downpour, smiling all the way. The girl shivered slightly and clung to the boy who was smiling widely. They had decided to meet out by the rocks they normally were at when it wasn't raining. They lived in a small city in the middle of nowhere. It made it easy to hang out. School was out for the summer so they got to see each other everyday. Looking trustingly into the boy's eyes the girl smiled back. They slowly made it to the rocks that had recently been the hideout of a certain fox. Sitting down on the rock the boy let the girl sit in his lap and they sat together for warmth and security, watching the rain drip down and pour down onto the street they had just left. It was just them out on that night, holding each other and enjoying the power from the storm, letting the whistling, tumbling air roar through their ears and senses. Lightning flashed once more and thunder roared, the storm seemed to lose its intensity. As if deciding on something the boy looked into the girls eyes once more, blushing slightly he leaned in and kissed her on the lips. The girl grinned right back at him and kissed him right back. Such a sweet thing, for what is life without love? Slowly waiting together, the couple was too busy to notice the hours drawing on, the night continuing until late and the night stretching on. To intent on themselves, the couple didn't notice the storm slowly draining and almost finishing off, with barely a rumble left. The drizzle was all that remained to the night, and the clouds broiled onward, stretching out far across the sky. They had sat with each other all night, just feeling each others warm clothes, and each other for that matter, it was beautiful. Rain finally drying off their clothes, and feeling the daylight almost reach over the mountains in the distance, the couple got up and walked down the street once more. Down the pathway to their house, they saw an old woman shoveling in the dirt, her ancient hands working the mud that was caked into her crop.

The old woman looked up at the couple who smiled timidly, she smiled warmly in return. They walked off down the road and she continued to work with the plants she had grown from the spring, but she could feel something different about this early morning. It wasn't even light yet, and the drizzle was wetting her old grey hair and her now muddy worn jeans. Still smiling slightly, the old woman got up from her spot on the ground and walked inside her house. Putting her gardening gloves away on top of a shelf, and stripping off her muddy garments, the old lady lay down on her bed, slowly thinking of things as her brain let her. It was not yet light, and she still had to work for the sake of her daughter who was blind. She was old though, very old, not even she could recount the years or remember everything. Sad as it was, there was always too much to say. Stretching out on her bed and curling up slightly, she thought of the young couple. They would be happy, and she was happy for them. For, life was worth it in the end. She smiled and closed her eyes as the first rays of sunlight came through the window declaring the end of the storm. Never feeling the rays of sunlight, or hearing the shriek from a hawk that penetrated the morning, but resting quietly, in peace.