Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Appreciation: Storms

I love storms. I grew up in "tornado alley" in Arkansas, where spring simply didn't pass without a tornado coming through somewhere nearby. I respect storms, but I don't recall ever feeling afraid of one.

We just had a wonderful storm. I had migraines three days last week, so I should have known something was on its way. My neighbor this morning mentioned that it was "supposed" to rain a few times in the coming week. Well, it was "supposed" to rain yesterday, too, and it barely dampened the topsoil. So when he told me that early this morning, I thought, "Oh, great, now it will be 90-plus degrees and horribly humid all week, and I'll still have to water flowers."

Driving home after work, I noted a few drops on the windshield. Then a few more. Enough to say, "Hey, it's raining." (I confess, I was talking to someone on my cell phone.) And then, "Wow, it's really raining." Lightning flashed in the distance, but I figured any storm would move on and be over quickly. The sky was mostly light, after all.

After my third comment about the rain, my friend said, "I'll let you go so you can concentrate on driving." And not a minute later, after turning onto Poplar Avenue, I could hardly see to drive. I moved over and pulled into a parking lot to wait it out.

Ah, the wonder of rain pouring down in torrents! Especially during a drought, it is like music to the ears. This rain did not seem to be going along with my "over quickly" idea, so I turned off the engine, undid my seatbelt, moved my seat to a more horizontal position, and lay back to enjoy the show.

Quite a show it was. Cars were creeping along, water was flooding the sides of the street, and everything looked gray through the waterfall.

And the wind! It blew in forceful gusts, making for some serious sideways rain. I could hear it, and from time to time, I felt my car lifting with the force of the wind.

I'm not sure why I love storms so much. Growing up where I did, I've seen towns flattened. I know wind and water can be very dangerous, but something inside me comes alive in a storm, and it feels so good to be alive in that way. To feel so much a part of the natural world, and to be reminded how small and powerless we are. Storms are a reminder that human beings are not in charge.

Maybe that's part of it. No amount of skill or knowledge can prevent a storm, or even guarantee you'll be able to weather a storm. Sometimes you just have to hang on and trust.

Not that this storm felt dangerous, once I got out of the traffic. Truth be told, I was tempted to get out of the car, raise my hands to the sky, do pirouettes in the parking lot, and just get totally wet! It would have felt so good! But I had to go to the grocery store, and thought I ought not go in dripping.

So I stayed in the car and waited, enjoyed the music of wind and water, and for the rest of the evening have felt more alive than I had in a good while.

That’s something to enjoy about this summer.
For the sake of my blog's integrity, I feel I should mention that I didn't take this photo. I found it on a website all about storms.


Lawrence Underwood said...

Oh, do I ever know how you feel. I love storms. I get a twinge of excitement watching the clouds build up and hope that they will swing our way. When living in Arizona I would actually get in the truck and head across the desert to get closer, or if lucky, under a thunderstorm. I love the lightning at night. The rolling vibration of the thunder.

Carolinagirl said...

Storms can be fun to watch, but I'm still getting use to seeing the lightening bolts coming down from the sky. I've spent so much time in the NE, that I've grown very accustomed to the lightening staying up in the sky, not to mention the absence of thunder.

We've had a lot of rain here too and I'm thankful as my flowers are being watered when perhaps they otherwise wouldn't be. However, it does make one put off completing outside tasks.