Natalie Goldberg Deck: Card #10

“Write about the weather.”

5 min readMar 15


Photo by Tina Lear

I’m working through the Natalie Goldberg deck of writing subjects. Each card in this world-renowned author and zen teacher’s Deck contains a writing topic on one side and a short lesson on the reverse, delivered in Natalie’s honest, heartfelt urgency. “This is my wish for you:” she says. “[T]hat you take these cards, grab the topic on one side and write, write, write . . . Remember no good or bad. Just words on the page.”

Write about the weather. There are so many weather moments I could write about. The Wyoming winter where we had weeks of 58 degrees below zero (without the wind chill factor). And my first Tuscan summers in 100 degree weather with no air conditioning — how I learned to suss out the cool pockets in the olive grove, behind the buildings, and how I sometimes had to just strip naked and lie down on top of the sheets, waiting out the afternoon furnace, sometimes bathing in a luke warm bath to cool off.

But Hurricane Sandy. That was weather with a capital W. Here is an excerpt from the journal I kept. It’s from sometime during the nine days we were without power.

When Sandy clocked in for his shift and the power went out.

The word “wind” doesn’t begin to describe it. Neither does “raging wind.” Any emotional or descriptive adjective clatters to the ground, thin and inauthentic. This was on a scale that silenced all words, all mental activity.

You could only drop your jaw and whisper “Holy shit.”

We did this as the trees crashed onto the power lines in our front yard.
We did this as the house literally moaned and wailed.
We did this all night.

It’s Tuesday morning, and we’re getting our bearings, surveying damage, talking to neighbors, trying to piece together what had happened to friends further away. The picture above is our front yard.

Fortunately, aside from what you see in the photo, we came out relatively unscathed. But we’ve been two days without phones and power, and it’s going to be at least another five, ten, maybe fifteen. For a while, texting was possible. Now that’s gone too.




Novelist. Poet. Musician. Buddhist. Quilter. Animal lover. Visible grownup. Hidden child. Secret dancer when all alone. Makes good bread.