A couple of nights before the Fourth, the chimes of freedom were flashing.

Bob Dylan wrote “The Chimes of Freedom” in 1964. 47 years ago. I was ten. I am certain I had no ideas about freedom or drawing comparisons to thunder and lightning and the concepts he was singing about. But I liked the song. I am even more certain now that I only barely have a grasp on what Dylan wrote about. But I still like the song. What I write here owes a lot to him.

I love thunder and lightning storms. When I can watch them from a safe place, that is. Something majestic there is about that power. With a crash and a stroke of light the power goes out and then comes back on. I arise from my bed and tell the long-suffering wife the mission is to reset the sump pumps in the basement. We have been married a long time. She knows where I am really headed.

I stand on our tiny porch. It doesn’t really protect me from the rain when the wind blows but tonight the downpours stay on their side of the roof. I watch the eerie, stop motion of light and dark, the flashbulb glimpses of the place where I live life, love life and work to keep it safe and ours. I admit the “Majestic bells of bolts” made me cringe involuntarily. If the LSW was up she would exhort me to come in to safety and not be an idiot. I am what I am. She slumbers through the pyrotechnics.

Sometimes I wonder if what we see of real life isn’t just what is illuminated by zaps of clear light in-between the darkness. It’s a life of quiet desperation mostly, isn’t it? The fine things, a good glass of wine, a smile of genuine delight from a youngster, coupled with the moments of abject terror about our own sure mortality followed closely by the realization that we are never more alive, then when we are close to death. And in the big scheme of things we are always a moment closer to death. Another brilliant flash and crash. I listened one last time, took one last look.
It’s a lot to burden a weather phenomenon with, I think.

The storm passes. I reset the sump pumps and return to bed.


The Rant D’Jour is about medals.

The medals on a soldier’s chest are supposed to be symbols of what he or she has gone through in the service…


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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