He had heard – no, felt – it coming long before it had arrived. The pre-dawn air had grown still, and everything, even the bugs that usually sang their chirping and buzzing choruses throughout the night, had quieted as though in preparation. They were waiting for the song of the storm.
As was Moss. When black clouds gathered in the direction the moons set and distant rumbles of thunder began to echo up the Holt's River valley, he scrambled to his den, grabbed an old drum that a plantshaper had crafted for him from an old log, and summoned his wolf-friend for an impromptu excursion to the Broad Meadow, where he could watch the storm blow itself in without obstruction. He had to get there before the rains began. He had to be in position and ready to play at exactly the right time in order to get this song out of his head and into his hands.
This song was special. It was a different song; one that had never come to him like this before. Usually, if a snippet of a melody popped into his head, he could grab his harp or drum, run with the tune, and make it real. This melody, however, seemed to demand both a time and a place. He'd heard the first few strains of the song when the last storm had blown over, but try as he might, he couldn't seem to replicate the beat that was playing in his head in the absence of wind or rain. It was like he wasn't quite remembering something about the cadence. Trying variations on what he remembered only served to force the song further from his fingertips, and this new inability to catch the tune began to gnaw at him more and more every day.
Hope had arisen when he had the realization that he needed an actual storm to place the last piece of this new puzzle. That is, until the skies chose to be cloudless and quiet for a half-dance of the moons after he had realized this. He became obsessed with searching the skies, sniffing the air, or watching for any kind of clue the next storm was going to come. He lost count of how many times his tribesmates had teased him now about wishing rain would fall on a perfectly beautiful evening.
So, naturally, when the storm was here, they teased him as he left. Moss chuckled at them, but otherwise paid them no mind. They didn't understand. He had to finish this song!
He raced to get to the Broad Meadow in time, pushing his wolf-friend as fast as she could safely run. The storm was blowing in quickly. Lightning arched across the sky threateningly as he approached the Craft Trees, and sprinkles of rain had begun to fall as he crossed the Den's Creek. The full fury of the storm broke as he reached the edge of the Broad Meadow, seated himself, and placed his wooden drum between his knees. He didn't even notice as his bond ran for cover from the approaching, drenching rain in a nearby fallen log.
As the rain began to pour and thunder boomed so loud it hurt his ears, he disregarded the chill and bite of the falling rain and began to play his drum. He started with the rhythm that he thought he knew from his head. After just a hand of moments, he knew the cadence had been wrong. Moss quickly fixed that and brought the rhythm into line to accompany the steady drum of the falling rain.
That was when everything fell into place.
Lightning flashed closer, sending thunder echoing deafeningly close. The deep bass booms punctuated undertones of the beat he played, urging Moss to slap the drum harder. Rain spattered down in a sheet of harmony only nature could provide. The wind howled a gusty, eerie melody that layered perfectly over the beat of the thunder and Moss' drum. Moss howled along with it.
The song – the storm song – grew in intensity as the storm passed overhead. It was the perfect music. Moss felt one with the storm.
And then, the song was over all too quickly.
The rain stopped suddenly, and the last strains of the song's harmony faded with the sounds of water drops falling from the saturated leaves overhead. Thunder rumbled in the distance as the storm blew past and filled Moss' head with the final strains of the song that had been trapped in is head for so many evenings now.
Moss fell silent for long moments, listening to the last, trailing remnants of the storm. He relished in the aftermath of that song, remembering what it was like to howl and play along as the rainclouds passed overhead.
When all fell quiet and the night bugs began their songs again, Moss pounded out the beat he'd played just a short while before on his drum. However, this time he stopped almost as soon as he started. He could not continue. He realized what had been missing before. This song was not right without the rain, thunder, and the howling wind. The beat had to be a part of the whole. It was not meant to stand alone.
Moss pushed his hair out of his eyes and nodded to himself as he stood, tucked his drum under his arm, and called his wolf-friend to him to head back to the Holt. He was sure the others would ask him if he found his song while out in the rain, and he would tell them he did. He no longer felt the overwhelming urge to stand out in the thunder and the rain.
He'd invite his tribe to come along to listen the next time the wind howled and the skies poured down rain to hear the song in his head. He could just imagine how wonderful it would sound with many voices howling along with the wind as they sang the song of the storm.