Thunderstorms

(Disclaimer: this post can only be brought to you by someone who had never, until now, lived in the countryside.)

Lightning can really mess up your night vision.  All you want to do is listen to the rain, and you’re just beginning to make out the shutters on the house across the street, when *flash!*  Lightning literally temporarily blinds you.  A bolt literally streaks across the sky.  But no matter how annoying, it’s beautiful.  You can follow it across the sky, and then further, as it goes behind your sight, but you can still see its reflection on every tree and house in front of you.

Thunder is strange out here.  It rolls.  I suppose that’s not strange — it’s more natural.  But the sky is huge and expansive, stretching for miles, as opposed to the sky of my childhood that I could measure with my arms, and especially opposed to the postage stamp sky in the city.  And the thunder travels across the entire sky.  There is no sudden *boom* of thunder, no explosions.  Only rolling, sometimes gentle, sometimes crashing, but always moving.  And it’s so quiet.  You can still hear the rain.  You hear a full thirty seconds of the thunder’s journey.

One night, six or seven or maybe eight years ago, I still shook in fright during thunderstorms.  Lightning’s power scared me, and I would clench my jaw and grasp a friendly hand or a plush comfort until the thunder quieted.  And then a friend, a very good friend, got fed up with my fear of nature’s beauty.  She led me by the hand to a park across the street.  Trees surrounded a small field, an assurance that should an errant bolt turn earthwards, we would not be the ones hit.  I pulled back.  I did not want to be outside during a storm.  I didn’t want to be anywhere near the storm, but inside in a windowless, soundproof basement was okay.  Deaf to my pleas, she led me to the middle of the field.  Under her guidance, I closed my eyes.  Turned my face towards the sky.  Felt the rain.  Heard the thunder, comforting.  Smelled the crackling, damp air.  Let go of her hand.

Thank goodness she led me to the park that night; otherwise, I would be shivering under my quilt right now instead of just coming back from half an hour at the window, just watching the slow storm.

Tomorrow should be fun, or the next day, whenever it stops raining.  The rivers will be flooded for miles (or kilometers, more like) around.  Rapids will form over previously dry stones.  People will complain that the waters are too brown, have kicked up too much sand and silt, but they’ll clear up within the week.  Flowers will explode into color.

Good thing, too.  I’ve been going stir crazy with cabin fever from all this cold and rainy weather.

P.S. Why did church bells ring at 9:55pm?  I thought all the bells were supposed to be silent until Easter morning.  They’re at least two hours early.

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