Thursday, March 01, 2007

stormy weather

The thunder actually took me by surprise. Its rumble was deep and serious. The kind where you think everything is shaking outside. Everything but you.

And it made me crave Spring.

I'd forgotten that I figured it would rain today. Early evening I stepped out from the store and the air tasted like water. Cool - but not cold. Rich - but not crisp.

Some of my favorite memories as a child are memories of storms. When the sky would turn a dark blue, then black and green, my father would step outside in his shorts, with a cup of tea. He'd listen to the thunder, watch the lightening and see the rain.

Summer days that drag with air that is thick, hot and heavy - could turn threatening in an instant. A greenish tint to the clouds would turn the entire neighborhood a shade of pukey and mothers would call their children in from games of tag and hide 'n seek. We'd let the screen door slam behind us, my brother and I, as the weather man pointed out green and red squiggly lines on the radar screen.

Storms outside meant playing inside. Using the imagination. Making things come alive, turning blankets into deep, dark caves or putting crayon to paper and thinking everything was just one step shy of Monet or Renoir. When there was a chance of a tornado, we'd gather up downstairs. Taking bowls of ice cream, cans of soda, books, blankets and toys with us. Our "downstairs" was actually partially under ground. So we'd watch the rain and hail pelt the front yard from ground level...the door to the crawl space open...just in case.

Once, we pulled into the parking lot of our first apartment to see the sky split in half. Green on top, black on the bottom. The sirens wailed as we rushed out groceries in from the car and we sat under the staircase in the hall - everyone with their doors open - waiting for word it was okay to go back in again. I remember being disappointed when all was clear and we shut our doors. For a moment everything was open. For a moment there were no the face of a possible disaster.

Growing up, storms became even cooler. Frightening to drive in - but an adventure all the same. Tornado warnings mean work halted while someone tuned in a radio and we were ushered into a conference room on the first floor...with no real security to it whatsoever. Cloudy, thunderstormy days in the Spring or Summer means movies - and lots of them. Turning the air condition down when the heat and humidity has finally broken - and there's a breeze. Staying in and staying curled up on the couch.

I'm so excited for Spring - I can't freakin' stand it.

Soon the roads will be free of ice and I'll be able to do more reporting, driving back and forth from Saugatuck - watching tourists buy sweatshirts and shot glasses and fudge. I'll drive with my windows down. I'll leave the coat at home. Music will sound better. The air might even smell sweeter.

And there will be a chance for some bad weather - but that's the point.

No comments: