Summer Bang-Up (ms)

The clouds rolled in from the West dark and ominous. They soon covered the ranch and the first peal of thunder came out rolling across a few mountain tops before running into the windows at our place making them rattle. More than anything else, I thought, that signals summer is officially here.

As a kid, like most kids, I was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. Especially fearsome were those that came in the dead of night when all good children are nestled in their beds sound asleep. BANG. Rumble. BANG. BANG. They were enough to throw a kid out of bed and, if young enough, straight to mom and dads room seeking the solace and comfort of familiar adults. Nothing can hurt me if I am with them, the logic goes. Hiding under the covers was an added measure done to ensure the God of Thunder could not strike. Later, when age made one able to face the BANG of thunder alone, it became the preferred method of storm avoidance.

Over time the fear of thunder fades not that it gets any less loud but because science can explain it. Lightning moves through the sky like a hot knife through butter and the separated air slamming back together makes the noise. Done. All the better to allow for a fuller enjoyment of a storm.

They are to be enjoyed, I think, and viewed with a caution. I hesitate to add I never watch storms while standing under trees or on a ball field or  a golf course. I am entranced by all that is a storm but I am not foolish enough to think the feeling is mutual. A storm can kill or maim in a heartbeat and I keep that in mind.

So, I watch storms from my truck if I happen to be in the right place; if I’m home the view from the back window is good. I also favor a mountain near me that looks out across a valley and the view there is spectacular.

I like the storms that come in early evening, about an hour before dark. The clouds spread out a mixture of gray and black deepening to all black toward the west. The lightning flashes through them igniting the edges so they look to be ablaze with a white fire. Some times a bolt flashes down crashing to earth somewhere off in the distance. Count one, two, three… if you hear the thunder at seven the storm is a mile away; twenty-one, three miles — rough estimate but good.

We live in an unpredictable world that seems more so each day; there is no telling what the morning news will bring. The thunderstorms of summer, though, are some of the more predictable events we can experience. They come in and unroll what I think of as a canvas of strength, power and a beauty that is hard to describe. They do still scare the daylights out of me some days but I can’t resist what they are.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on May 31, 2011.

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