Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lighting and Thunder and Rain, Oh My!

 (Dock flowers, arrows in a blue sky, colorful power station, a roly-poly visits me during a lounge outdoors.)

   Last night I was at home being a couch potato when I looked at my phone and saw that my new weather app claimed a thunder storm was happening. This seemed highly unlikely. The day had been sun drenched and dry. Thunderstorms are not really the type of thing that an app should inform you of. The loud crashing and banging in the sky usually does the job pretty well. So the silence seemed to make the thunderstorm claim even more suspect. Also, this new app has been decidedly untrustworthy. There stated current temperature is often overly optimistic, stating it is around six degrees warmer then other weather sites. So when I saw the thunder storm claim, I almost immediately dismissed it as a bunch of hooey. But, my curiosity was peaked, and what if I missed a thunderstorm out of sheer skeptical stubbornness? So I went outside to investigate. As soon as I opened the door, I heard a huge clamor rumbling in the sky. Thunder! How exciting! I hovered underneath the upstairs patio-balcony for protection and waited for more. Often when I see thunderstorms I only catch the electric flashes of light. But I was lucky enough to see several great, awe-inspiring streaks throughout the thunderstorm. They zig-zagged and dashed across the sky. They wiggled and danced and oscillated. The lightening was beautiful- jagged neon lines against a murky purple-black sky.
    Eventually the rain started pouring and water leaked through the cracks in the patio above me, so I moved inside. We have a table in front of one of our windows, so I relocated there to watch more of the thunderstorm. Wendel my cat was already waiting for me. He had been watching the storm too, from his perch on the window sill. When I joined him, he purred and rubbed his head against my arm. I was surprised he was so unperturbed by the roaring thunder. He is such a skittish cat that usually the smallest noise will provoke him into frantic states of fear. One moment, he will be on my lap, purring with a closed eyed, content expression on his little white and gray face. The next moment, he will hear a slight rustle in the other room. The sound, for whatever reason, will be so overwhelming and terrifying that he will freak out! In the process he always digs his sharp claws into my legs and bounds off me to the safety of some hiding spot. But Wendel was fine. It was Mue Mue, my braver cat who seemed frightened. When I saw him sitting on the couch, he had big, scarred eyes. Poor guy!
     Wendel and I watched for a while longer, but the streaks were coming less frequently. I was going to resume my former position of couch potato when a mini-van rolled down the street and pulled into the park's parking lot across the street from my house. I thought maybe they were looking for a good lightening storm viewing area, and it made me want to wait a little longer before I gave up on the storm myself. About five minutes after they parked, someone got out of the van and started messing with something in the trunk. I thought maybe they were pulling out a dead body to dispose of in the park! It was a thunderstorm after all! And lately I have been listening to the audio book 'In Cold Blood' so maybe this is why my thoughts veered in that direction. But there were no dead bodies (or at least none that I saw...). But the lone van in the empty parking lot during a thunderstorm still created an eerie vision. Especially with some dark shadowed form rummaging for something in the trunk. It reminded me of once when I was much younger and I use to have insomnia. Sometimes when I couldn't sleep I would crawl out my window onto the roof to watch the silent streets. But one night, the people across the street were chopping wood in their front yard. It was fairly late at this point, 2 or 3AM, not a normal time for wood chopping. And there was something sort of unsettling about the sound of the ax smacking against the wood over and over again. Everything else was so silent except for the occasional whoosh of a passing car.
    Last night I was thinking about how when thunder is further away (not so close that the sound shakes and skews the pictures on the wall) it is actually a calming sound. If it was at a high pitched shriek, that would be scary. But it is at a low frequency, like the rumble of an old man's voice. I thought last night that it sounded like an hungry but friendly giants stomach growling while he stands in some sort of empty building or cave... somewhere that echo's easily. I remember when I was little, other kids talked about god bowling, or Mrs. god dropping pans on the floor.
   I have never lived in a place that has abundant thunderstorms, so every time I see one, it feels like a great treat. In the South I think they are much more common. The last time I went to South Carolina with David, we experienced so many summer thunderstorms! The air was muggy, the rain was warm and the thunder lit up the sky. One afternoon there was a thunderstorm and shortly after it ended David and I walked down to the beach. We were few of the first people to venture back on the beach after the storm. It was strange seeing the almost empty beach which had been crowded earlier in the day. There was one small group on the beach though, and I am pretty sure they had never left the beach, even during the thunderstorm. There were four burly, shirtless men. They were huddled around a pile of empty beer cans like it was their camp fire. When they saw us join them on the beach, they hollered friendly 'Hi's' at us then they sang us a song. It went like this "It's drinking time, It's drinking time! Drink! Drink! Drink!"  Then, with a merry jaunt in their stride, they walked toward us with proffered cans of beer. Once they were just talking and not singing, we could tell that they were from Australia. They were very happy to have more people to talk to and talked for awhile. Mostly, I forgot what they talked about but I do remember what they had to say about kangaroo's. They thought it is really funny that Americans are so enchanted by kangaroo's. They said that in Australia, kangaroo's are everywhere, and nothing special at all. They compared Australians relationship to kangaroo's similarly to the way American's view deer. But the thing is, even if in Australia kangaroos are a common sight, maybe even a nuisance, they are still amazing! They are animals that get everywhere they need to be by hopping! And they have little babies living inside pouches attached to their bodies! It is sad to think that if you see something amazing like a kangaroo often enough, it is no longer amazing. Just like deer. Deer are pretty amazing too... They are these little, graceful animals that grow huge, tree like structures from their head!

(Cheerful daffodils awaiting adoption at the plant nursery, fluffy plants like miniature clouds, a tree house, a friendly cat.)

3 comments :

Marieken Hoefnagel said...

I love the chevrolet sign-picture. I never see such beautiful skies.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow I never thought about Australians viewing kangaroos in the way we view deer. Very interesting!

Amber @ Fauna Finds Flora said...

Marieken- Thanks! The sky is often beautiful in Seattle because we have clouds so often. Even on sunny days there are often fluffy white clouds...which are my favorite!

Keith- yeah, it is neat how much where you live can influence you view on the world.