Tom Rush-Eric Von Schmidt Lyrics from an old traditional song
Wasn't that a mighty storm
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning
Say, wasn't that a mighty storm
Blew all the people away
Well, Galveston had a sea wall
Meant to keep the water down
High tide from the ocean
Sent water over Galveston
Yeah, year was 1900
Fifty long years ago
Death came walking on the water that day
Death calls, you gotta go
Now the trumpets, they sounded warning
Said it's time to leave this place
But no one thought about leaving town
Til death stared them in the face
Chorus[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/james_taylor/wasnt_that_a_mighty_storm.html ]
Right then the sea started boiling
A thing that no ship could stand
I thought I heard a captain crying out
Somebody save a drowning man
They had two trains loaded
With people trying to leave town
Tracks gave way to the water now
And all of those people drowned
I said the year was 1900
Fifty long years ago
Death came walking on the water
Death calls, you gotta go
I said Death, your hands are clammy
You got them on my knee
You came and threw a stone at my mother
And now you're coming after me.
Funny he, Adam Evans, thought as he laid in his toss and turn early morning Seals Rock Inn, San Francisco bed, as the rain poured down in buckets, literally buckets, at his unprotected door, the winds were howling against that same door, and the nearby sea was lashing up its fury how many times the sea stormy night, the sea fury tempest day, the, well, the mighty storm anytime, had played a part in his life. He was under no circumstances, as he cleared his mind for a think back, a think back, that was occupying his thoughts more and more of late, trying to work himself into a lather over some metaphorical essence between the storms that life had bestowed on him and the raging night storm. No way, too simple. Rather he was just joy searching for all those sea-driven times, times when a storm, a furious storm like this night or maybe just an average ordinary vanilla storm passing through and complete in an hour made him think of his relationship with his homeland the sea and with its time for reflection. And so on that toss and turn bed he thought.
He thought first and mainly about how early the sea came into his life, almost from birth down at those ragged slopes around Germantown where he lived growing up and was tumbled into the sea early. And learned the power of the sea early when one winter storm night Mother Nature played a trick on her seaward brethren and tried to bring them home to her bosom all in one lashed-up swoop as the water came right up to that hovel (really a cottage, maybe slightly bigger) door and the lot of them only reached higher ground in a split second before a big foam-flecked (aren’t they always when they come in that hard, fast and furious) wave crashed that cottage down. And later, childhood later, a few years later anyway, when he, bravo he, decided, yes, decided that the impeding summer storm he could sense coming would be no deterrent to his taking that log on the beach and using it to swim to China , or some such place, on the current. And losing the log in the churning waters almost drowned, except for the screams of his panic beach-bound brother sounding the alarm for help and some Madonna savior swimmer, beach-bound too, came and swooped him up before he went down for the third time. Don’t tell Ma, jesus, don’t tell Ma.
Or that night, that funny night (funny night in retrospect, then and now retrospect) when he, his buddy Will and his girl, and she, she Terry Wallace, sat in Will’s father-bought high school car, a ’59 Dodge, “making out”while the sea churned up around them at old Nippo Beach just up from home Germantown and the police, spotting the car and the fix, came and rescued them rescued them while they were in, ah, compromising positions (you figure it out, he just laughed his thought laugh) because in the throes of love they had not realized that they were in a couple of feet of sea water that had splashed over some poor man-made seawall built against Mother’s angers.
Or that day, that wind- swept day, when his world fell apart, the day when Diana had left him, left him for good, left him for another man, another non-sea driven man, after she called it quits when spending a couple of months up in that storm-ravaged Maine cottage where she, quote, was tired as hell of the sea, of the wind, of the stuff that the wind did to her sensitive skin, and, and, tired of him playing out some old man of the seas, some man against nature thing with her in his train.
Or that time later with Sarah when the winter seas once again bore down on them in Marblehead coming up over a double seawall, damn a double sea walls, and almost touching their front steps. And she too calling it quits, although not over another man, or over his man and nature obsession, or over that breeched double sea-wall but just her calling it Sarah quits. And he sorry, more than Diana sorry, when she left.
Or that Maine time a few years back when a sudden winter storm came up the coast of Maine and he was stranded for a couple of days when Mile Road was cut off and he finally knew what it was like to be totally dependent on happenstance, on others, and, in the end on his own devises.
Or tonight, the winds blasting away, rain splashing down, left to his own devises, his own thoughts, and just then he thought, that no, no he was wrong, he really was searching for that metaphor, that metaphor, that mighty storm metaphor. that would sum up his life.
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