I love a good storm. This morning, about 4 am, our season changed from harvest season to late fall, all in a breath. I woke up early, wondering why I was up yet again at this hour. I listened for a few minutes, and heard rain beginning.

It came on with a vengeance. Rain blowing sideways, tops of trees being tossed around, branches hitting the roof…and I love every minute of it.

I want to climb to the top of a hill, and strip off all my clothes and raise my hands, high in the air, feel the rain running down me, until lightning surges up through my feet and I fight with the sky over who has possession of it. I want to jump in puddles and roll around in the grass and the mud and make love naked with water running down my body in the pouring rain….

Over the last few weeks, the earth here was hurting all the time. Forest fires burning on all the surrounding hills. The smoky air making the inside of my nostrils burn. The parched earth is aching for rain. In my imagination I can see all the wood sprites and toads and little creatures in burrows under the soil, who have either been hiding from the heat, or running from flames. They are all gathering in some magic circle to perform a thankful rain dance, water running down their little toad bodies. I want to go out and join them.

I have been caught in another storm, as well. A maelstrom, a surging river, a whirlpool and a deep, calm lake, all together. I have been completely overtaken by love, and it is like nothing so much as a storm I want to go out into.

I am, (at least, I was…) cautious by nature in love. There are a great many things I will dive into, both literally and figuratively. I rarely get into water to swim by inches – I jump in, I dive in, I dive and roll on the surface to make a bigger splash. But falling in love? No. I’ve always gone in by inches.

What happened to me a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the rainy season was like a benign tornado – I was picked up bodily and set down in a different place, on a different road, with a completely different set of expectations and assumptions – a small part of me is still there, trying to catch up, wondering, what just happened and how did I get here?

But the rest of me – all the rest of me, is overtaken. I am a six-year-old, toing the dirt, holding out a bunch of short-stemmed, wilting wildflowers picked from an empty lot, blushing, to a boy. I am twelve, in thrall to my hormones and being kissed for the first time. I am seventeen, in the throes of my first crush, and dawdling by a boy’s house in hopes that he will see me and come out and talk. I am thirty-two, and finally figuring out what I want to do with my life.

I am, most of all, myself, now. We talk, and I have this incredible passionate energy come over me in waves – sometimes it is tenderness, sometimes it is hunger, sometimes it is thirst, sometimes it is an ache or a tear, or a gurgle of laughter.

We have both, in being taken by storm, made a conscious choice not to run away. We've chosen to turn and face it, and each other, and see what is in front of us, in spite of the fact that we broke all the rules of common sense.

The difference is that it was not lust or hunger that caused the storm. It was a pool, a pool of energy and information that I can only label as a shared spirit. It was, and is, the most overwhelming sense of love and trust I have ever felt.

We don’t know where this storm is going to land us. The logistics are, well, daunting to say the least. However, I have to say, with going out into this storm, I don’t care.

I feel that river flowing from my heart to his, and I know that I am choosing to be, truly, taken by storm.

I wrote the above back in mid-october, not very long after Kevin and I fell in love. The description is still true - cynical me, who did not believe in love at first sight, nor in "true love", fell head over heels in love with this man almost all in one moment.

I've now come more to terms with it, although we still joke about the fact that several patterns and events are things we neither of us strictly (rationally) "believe in". But here's the clincher - both of us fell for each other when what Kevin later described as a huge pool of shared spirituality opened between us.

Having to try to explain to my friends and relations how this happened has been a little like what I imagine it feels like to come out of the closet. I have always been extremely private about my own spirituality, and often at a loss for words to explain it to someone I trust enought to share it with. Suddenly, because of the swiftness of this involvement, I find myself talking about spirituality with many people, some of whom I don't know all that well. It makes me feel remarkably naked.

Furthermore, I come from a long and vocal line of athiests. Any time someone in my generation starts attending church, we do it on the sly, and we all joke about how my grandmother is rolling over in her grave.

So talking publicly about this shared spirituality, which otherwise we've not managed to label - Taoist Pagan? pantheist gnostic skeptic? Unitarian buddhist Quaker pagan? - is a very odd experience.

In the midst of our early conversations, Kevin showed me a picture of the Nine Ladies, from his gallery. My sacred places, are out in nature, rather than churches. When I saw the picture, I was overwhelmed by the power of that place.

There were a great many things at that point that Kevin did not know about me. As a landscape architect, I try, at every moment, to foster my understanding of, and my connection to places. I strive to understand what makes a great place, a magical place, a sacred place, as opposed to an everyday place, or worse, one that has had its heart cut out. As I sputtered and gasped, I felt as though every mask I'd ever worn between me and the world had been stripped away - there I stood, with all my beliefs made visible, through my emotional reaction to this place he introduced me to. Sky clad.

After that, it felt as though rather than getting to know each other further, we were confirming what we already knew . There's an incredible sense of familiarity.

During his visit, I kept having the sensation of having a friend who already knew my every thought, who was incredibly good at reading my moods, my emotions, my thoughts. Whether this is only that Kevin is extraordinarily intuitive, or that there is another explanation, I'll leave for when I've sorted out how to describe something that rationally I still don't (quite) "believe in".

And so that is the best description I can give of what "happened". He and I shared our sense of spirit, of the sacred, and everything else has grown from that.

It now feels less like a maelstrom, and more like a continuous river. When we are figuring out what the next steps are, as long as we both have a hand in that metaphorical river, I have a complete sense of the rightness, even the sacredness, of our joint decisions.

As the waters flow down to the sea, so this river, in full spate, is coming to that ocean of calm and peace. We hope there's a beach there, and maybe a little hut, ramshackle and comfortable. As long as it has the necessities, we'll be happy there.