“Why do you do that?” my wife asks.
“Pull the covers up around your neck like a cocoon?”
I grew up in Northern Virginia with raindrops pounding on the roof, the steady soft staccato; the rhythm ebbing and flowing as the storm surged. With it, the thunder rumbled far away at times and booming suddenly right outside the window brushed by dancing tree branches.
“I feel safe and warm.”
The daytimes were so varied and open and rarely in bed. At night, darkness, cold, thunderstorms all merged together as a singular event – a mysterious, alternately scary and soothing crescendo of sights and sounds beckoning fear and sleep in waves.
“The rain puts me to sleep in comfort,” I continued.
“Well, you sure picked the right place to live then.”
When we moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida, we thought little of storms. The perpetual sunshine, the warm seas, the tranquil beaches were an escape from the lifestyle of the Northeast. Someone told us that we were now in the lightning capital of the world. Really?
Our introduction to the Gulf storms came late one afternoon. Clouds stand in high bas relief here and strike quickly. The wind comes ahead like trumpeters announcing the coming of royalty in twists and twirls. Flashes drizzle from the oncoming thunderheads and a slow rumbling bounces along the ground. Moisture starts to dot the air and darkness floods overhead.
Then the first crashing boom like a giant cymbal starting a symphony shatters the air. Then white-hot streaks cut through the sky. Like a large showerhead on full, the rain starts in sheets changing from vertical to horizontal, spinning in the wind, slamming the sides of lanais and walls and smashing on to the roof. Volumes rise, the light show dazzles, and the buckets of rain keep coming. Slowly, almost gently it moves on to the next neighborhood leaving in its trail the debris of Mother nature’s passing –torn palm tree leaves, tossed furniture left outside, puddles where dry grass lived before, and mud.
Somehow, even in its fury, the storms are majestic. Clearing the air, cleaning the land, bringing new life through the gift of fresh water. All I can do is stand just inside the lanai and watch, in wonder, awed by the power and gift of this earth.
We’ve heard of monster siblings of our storms, the ones with names and categories. The ones which are supposed to get us, long overdue they say, but which always seem to veer northwest at the right moment and torment another shore, leaving us only the fury of winds and the overflow of rain. But there’s more beauty in our resident raging.
I don’t pull the covers up anymore.
I don’t want to miss the show.