Posted tagged ‘lightning’

“No rain but thunder, and the sound of giants.”

August 19, 2017

Last night we had the best rainstorm complete with thunder right over my house and lightning bolts striking in the sky above my backyard. One clap of thunder made Gracie and me jump as it was both unexpected and close. The rain pelted the roof and windows. It was so loud I had to turn up the sound on the TV. At one point, around 10:30, the rain stopped so I raced to take Gracie outside. The rain started again only minutes after we had gotten back inside. The drops were so heavy and loud they were the only sounds I could hear. I figured it was serendipity the rain stopped for just that small while. Gracie lasted the rest of the night and into the morning.

I’ve nothing on my to-do list for today. The roads will be filled as Saturday is turn-over day at cottages, and tourists will be looking for something to keep kids busy on a dark day, on a no beach day. Board games can only work for so long.

The remnants of the storm are a gray sky and high humidity, the sort of humidity my father used to say you can cut with a knife. The small breeze does nothing to change the close, damp air. We won’t see the sun until tomorrow.

I remember when I was a kid and the thunder and lightning kept me inside. I’d take a book and find a quiet place to read. Sometimes it was in my room because everyone else was downstairs watching TV. It was dark enough I needed a light to read by, the light on the headboard behind me. It seemed to shine only on me and the pages of my book. I felt safe and cozy.

Thunder never scared me even when I was a kid. I remember being told thunder was angels bowling in heaven. I also remember reading Rip Van Winkle’s thunder was the men in the mountains, Henry Hudson’s crew, playing nine-pins. Either way, it was just bowling.

I love lightning, jagged and bright in the sky. One lightning bolt hit the ground right in front of my house in Ghana. It was magnificent. I’ve never seen the like.

My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.

July 24, 2016

Last night, the first movie night of the season, got started with appetizers and dinner but then lightning brightened the sky, and it started to rain. We hustled inside with the movie equipment, chair pillows and the food. Even though it didn’t rain for too long the lightning hung around so we were glad to be inside the house. We sat at the dining room table, munched movie candy, and chatted. It was a wonderful evening despite no movie.

I was late in getting up this morning. All the hauling of movie equipment from the cellar and the preparations for dinner caused horrible back pain. I could barely move when I went to bed, but, luckily, right now, there is barely any pain. As I have no plans for today my back should be fine.

Right now it is sunny, 80˚, with 54% humidity. That is far better than it has been; however, I’m staying inside cooled by the AC.

Summer invites laziness, and I am happily lazy. Some days I sit on the deck and read. I don’t even bother to get dressed. I talk to a few people on the phone, and that is the extent of my human contact. I eat random foods instead of a real meal and eat when I’m hungry. Some days it’s cheese and crackers. One day it was caramel popcorn for lunch. I cooked Chinese sausages the other day and ate them for three meals in a row. I don’t get bored with leftovers. I aways think many foods taste better the next day.

The TV is on, and I’m being entertained by a movie called Dinoshark. I figure I don’t need to explain the plot as the title is enough to give it away. It is a low budget film so the effects are cheesy. The dinoshark looks a bit rubbery. Why am I watching? I can’t resist a B movie. Besides, I’m getting ready for next Sunday’s Sharknado 4.

“Nothing reminds us of an awakening more than rain.”

April 12, 2016

Today I started early with a nine o’cock meeting. When it had finished, I went to the bank, the post office and the grocery store. I got home after eleven and had another cup of coffee while I read my second newspaper and my e-mail. It was while I was reading the local news I realized how tired I was so I decided to take a morning nap. Gracie must have felt the same way because she joined me upstairs. We just woke up. Gracie, though, is now back to napping, and I’m still tired.

When I looked out the window this morning, I saw a cloudy, ugly sort of day. When I went outside to leave, I was surprised at how warm it was. My car said 55˚, almost balmy for this time of year especially with no sun. I knew it was supposed to rain during some part of the day and it did just as I arrived home. All I would have needed was four more minutes so I could have gotten the dog, my packages and me inside without getting wet.

The easiest way to describe the weather is to say it’s a rainy day, but that’s just the beginning. What sort of rain? All rain storms don’t fall from the sky in the same way, but they do have two things in common: they get you wet and all the rain ends up in the same place, down. My favorite description of rain is one my mother used to use. She’d say it was spitting rain, and I knew exactly what she meant. The earlier rain I got stuck in was heavy. My mother would have called it a deluge. Sometimes rain is torrential. Other times it rains cats and dogs. Sprinkling is the lightest of rains. Coming down in buckets is just the opposite. I remember the rain falling on the long windows when I was in elementary school. The drops would hit the windows then drizzle down until they disappeared. When the wind is great, the rain falls sideways. Some storms have pounding rain. They are probably my least favorite because I always get so wet.

My favorites of all storms are in Ghana at the start of the rainy season. After months of no rain the sky turns almost black and the clouds darken the day. All of a sudden the wind and the rain start with unbelievable ferocity. Trees bend under the onslaught. Lightning strikes jaggedly across the sky. I once saw it hit the ground. The dry, hard earth can’t absorb the rain so it forms rivulets which run and make furrows on the ground. Sometimes the rain is so magnificent I can’t catch my breath from the awe of it. I stand and watch until the storm wears itself out and the sun comes back. I know the dry season is over and it will rain just about every day, but it is this first rain which I’ll remember.

“Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant ‘idiot.”

July 2, 2015

The rain was unbelievable yesterday morning. In only ninety minutes we received 2 1/4 inches of rain. Roads were flooded, trees knocked down by lightning and thunder rumbled overhead the whole time, sometimes close, sometimes far way. When the storm ended, the humidity was stifling, but I had to do some errands so I left right away. Everyone else had the same idea. The dump was crowded and cars were bumper to bumper on the main roads. I sat in traffic and observed what was happening, none too patiently. I decided it was easy to determine the start of tourist season. The parking lot, the grassy areas on the other side of the road and any available space at the movie theater is filled on a rainy day. Two light cycles is the average waiting time at any red light. People curse you when you’re already on the rotary after you nearly hit their cars when they jump into rotary traffic. It is obvious the rules of a rotary are foreign to many people. Four way stops? Nope, no etiquette there. We all take turns at the stop signs, but not the man from Connecticut. He went right through a few seconds after the car in front of him. After two cars nearly hit him, they honked, and he looked bewildered. Cars on 6A go slowly and the driver and passengers gawk and swivel their heads from one side to the other. They point. Supermarkets run out of carriages. They are strewn all over the parking lot. Beaches fill by ten. Restaurants serving seafood fill by 6. We have learned to eat dinner at 5. Yesterday my last stop was Agway, a joyful spot, a place totally ignored by tourists.

When I got home and brought everything inside, I was sweating from every pore in my body. My shirt was soaked in the back, and my hair was curling from the humidity. I shut the windows and turned on the AC. I took a shower. a barely warm shower. My feet eventually got cold. That was a delight.

“…that lightning bolt was mine”

August 8, 2014

My sanity is still in question. I think I look like Barbara Bush with my eyes bulging out of my head. Yesterday a trip which takes at most an hour and a half took three and a half hours. On a normal ride home, I would have zipped through Boston on down to the bridge, but yesterday it took me over and hour and a half just to get out of Boston and not even far out of the city at that. I had to stop for gas and a bathroom break, an unplanned stop as I had expected to be home well before I needed either of those. My friend Tony came to the house twice to let Miss Gracie out and on the second trip he fed her dinner. I, in the meanwhile, was a crazy woman sitting in the car going nowhere.

As I was sitting in traffic I could see lightning bolts coming from dark clouds ahead. They looked like the sort I used to draw with black crayons when I was a kid. They had edges and angles. I liked watching the lightning especially because it was ahead of me. Come to find out, weather was ahead of me the whole time so I missed it all. The cape had torrential downpours and hail. When I got home, my lawn still had snow, and it was cold out, in the high 50’s. Luckily Tony had closed my windows so I avoided a flood. The road wasn’t as lucky. One spot had water covering the road and up and over the sidewalks. I saw the lake ahead of time and slowed down, but a car coming the other way didn’t, and I was blinded for a bit by the water spray from the car as it sped through. I checked my rear view and the car was dead on the side of the road, probably from a soaked engine. I left him behind, turned the corner and another corner and I, both grumpy and exhausted, was finally home.

Today is lovely with no humidity, lots of sun and a temperature in the low 70’s. I figure Mother Nature is trying to make up for yesterday. I’ll take her apology.

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!”

February 14, 2014

The rain fell all day yesterday and last night. It stopped for a bit but only to gather a little more energy because it then began to pour again, to pound the roof, around midnight. After that came the highlight of the storm, the thunder and lightning. I was reading in bed when the whole room was lit by a flash of light then another flash then another. The thunder was a rumble at first which got louder and louder until it became a crash. I stopped reading to listen. Gracie slept right through it. It seemed to thunder for a long time then the rumbling began to fade until it disappeared. The rain fell more quietly having expended all its energy for that one giant blast.

Today was the big day, Valentine’s Day. I’d sit at the kitchen table the night before and in my best handwriting fill in my name on the back and the names of my classmates on the fronts of the envelopes. My mother always bought the valentines with a picture on the front, usually with a corny saying, and a place on the back for my name. Kathleen usually ended up slanted as it’s a long name. I also had to add an R. so everyone would know it wasn’t Kathleen D. or Kathleen L. Those precious valentines were carefully carried to school as were the cookies my mother had made for the party. The week before, during art, we had transformed shoe boxes into valentine boxes.

We had to do regular school work most of the day. It killed us. Our minds were on those envelopes sitting in boxes under our desks. I wondered who would give me valentines and feared not getting one from my secret crush of the week. In those days we didn’t give one to everybody in the class. I think it was more a matter of expense than thoughtlessness. Finally, after eons had passed, the nun would tell us to put our books away. She’d start to clear off her desk to make room for the party food. We’d pull our decorated boxes off the floor onto our desks and sit impatiently waiting for the festivities to start. The nun directed us row by row to walk around and hand out our valentines. We’d sit as classmates walked by and dropped envelopes or didn’t. We never opened them until all of us had taken our turns. It was then the party began. We’d get cookies and candy then sit at our desks and talk and open the valentines. We’d giggle at the ones from boys being young enough still to giggle without being silly. The party lasted until the final school bell when we’d reluctantly clean up and get ready to leave. The valentines went in our boxes and we carried those treasures home as it they were the crown jewels.

I’d sit at the kitchen table and look at those valentines then I’d keep them safe in the box for a long time so I could look again and again.

“To portray a maniac offers a compelling challenge.”

September 1, 2013

Last night Gracie was bored. How do I know? She took her toys out of her toy box just because she wanted to. She then went and knocked a few things off a shelve and knocked over the canister where I put my change. I gave her a chew, one which takes time and effort. She went outside and buried it. How do I know? When she came back inside, she shook her head and globs of wet dirt flew all over this room including on the TV and my computer screen. I got wet paper towels and washed her face paying particular attention to her nose, the tool she uses to push the dirt over the hole. Later she resurrected the chew, and it was disgusting and dirty.

We all went to bed round 11:30. Gracie was still panting so much from her exertions the bed was shaking. I decided to turn on the AC to help her calm down. It worked. Within a short time, Gracie was quietly sleeping. Some time during the night, she moved and was on the other side of the bed beside me taking far more than her share of room. How do I know? I turned over, ran out of room and fell out of bed. It was a shock. I sat for a minute then decided because I was up or maybe down depending on how you look at it I might as well go to the bathroom. The bathroom floor was soaked. I thought leak then I saw lightning and more lightning. It was quick and short almost like the spark from a Zippo lighter just about out of fluid. You keep turning the wheel hoping to get a flame but all you get is that quick burst of light. That’s what I saw. The floor and the windowsill were soaked from the storm I had slept through.

When I went on the deck, I saw the candle holders were almost filled with rain so it had been a mighty storm, a deluge. I called my friend who couldn’t believe I didn’t hear the thunder. He said it was loud and lasted a long while, and those shorts bursts of lightning I saw were at the end of the storm, after the rain. If I hadn’t fallen out of bed, I would have missed everything. I guess it was a serendipitous fall.

While I was on the deck, I noticed a red tail hanging from the back of my squirrel buster feeder. It was the small red spawn of Satan, too light for the squirrel buster to work. That creature eats the seed all the time, and I’ve had it. I keep the hose with a nozzle hanging from the deck as I use it to water the garden below, the pots near it and to fill the watering can. I took the nozzle, moved it to jet and then sprayed the red squirrel. I have never seen that spawn move so quickly. Maniacal laughter sprang from my lips. I felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein when the monster moved, “It’s alive. It’s alive,” became, ” Run for your life, you spawn. I have you now.”

I’m thinking a long rest might be in order.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

July 9, 2013

Today is dark with a gray sky. The humidity is high but not unbearable as there is a slight breeze, and a breeze is welcomed however small. The paper says rain with thunder and lightning. I am already looking to it. I love storms, and we do need the rain. This morning I have a doctor’s appointment for a wound check and yesterday the physical therapist signed off on me. That means I can now drive. I can be part of the world again.

All the windows and doors are opened, but I don’t hear anything, a random bird now and then but that’s all. I wonder where everyone is. This small street has kids, lots of kids: eight of them under seven years old, and I don’t even hear them. Not even a dog is barking which is also unusual. Maybe my invitation to wherever everyone has gone got lost in the mail.

It seems strange not to be traveling this summer. The last two summers I went back to Ghana, and if I had the money, I’d go again. I plan on austerity being my life style for the next year so I can save enough to go to Ghana again. Even after 40 years away, it seemed like home, and that connection is even greater after having been back a second time. Most interesting of all was meeting my former students many of whom are now retired and in their early 60’s. They refused to call me anything but madam or Ms. Ryan. I was and still am their teacher.

In the summer of 1969, I trained in Ghana to be a Peace Corps volunteer from June until early September. We had no phones, no televisions and no computers so we knew nothing of what was happening in the world. Letters from home were newsy but only about the family. One place where I stayed during training had a radio, and we listened to Voice of America and the moon landing. That was it for the entire summer. I, who used to read the paper every day, didn’t even care. None of us did. At night, we played cards and drank a few beers (I had coke-hate beer) at the local spots and the wide world never intruded. We didn’t even notice. All of us were too busy learning a new language and learning to live in a culture so different from our own.

Now I read two papers, am on my computer every day, carry my cell phone everywhere and watch news on TV. Sometimes I am very sorry I am so connected. The world at large intrudes on my life. Every bad thing that happens is blasted everywhere all the time, often the whole day on TV. I watch and am saddened by so much tragedy. Sometimes I long for that summer when I knew so little of what was happening in the world. I was blissful and ignorant.

“When the sun shines wondrously in the morning, even the shadows in our mind start running away!”

May 30, 2013

Last night Gracie went out about 11 for her last visit to the yard before bed. When she came in, we went upstairs. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, light I thought, but I looked outside and saw nothing so I got comfy in bed to read. All of a sudden the loudest clap of thunder rattled the windows and went on forever. The rain came next, heavy rain, and then more thunder as loud and long as the first. I figured it was lightning I’d seen out of the corner of my eye, a warning of what was to come. I read for about an hour and then fell asleep to the sound of the rain. This morning I woke to sun and warmth. It is supposed to be around 83˚ today: too hot for May on Cape Cod.

It is just so quiet outside. The birds were singing earlier, but I don’t hear them anymore. A few leaves flutter on a branch but make no sound. I do hear Gracie snoring from her crate in the kitchen. It is often her spot for a morning nap. I don’t know where the cats are, but I know they’re sleeping somewhere. Today is my day to buy flowers for the deck and the front yard and vegetables and herbs for the side gardens. I’m going with red and white flowers for the deck, basil for the window boxes and cucumbers and tomatoes again for the garden. I’ll decide one more vegetable and a few more herbs when I roam at Agway. This is one of my favorite days though I usually end up going back at least one more time. I just can’t resist those flowers, and this year I have all those new pots to fill on the shelf I had built on the deck.

I’m leaving deck cleaning for tomorrow if my back cooperates or Saturday if it demands a day of rest which I suspect will happen given all the hauling from the car to the deck to the gardens. Tomorrow will probably be a recuperative day. No complaining here about sitting outside with a cold drink and a good book. I just started another Patterson, an Alex Cross, a perfect book for a summer’s day.

My laundry has been sitting by the cellar door for three days but hasn’t inspired me to do anything about it so it can sit a bit longer. As Scarlett was wont to say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”

August 16, 2012

Last night was wonderful. First came the rumbles of thunder then the lightning. I went outside on the deck for a while and watched the sky being lit up by small jagged bolts. Every now and then a giant bolt of lightning would surprise me as it spread across the sky and lit the night. It rained, slowly at first then with a bit more intensity. I can always judge the amount of rain fall by Gracie. If she stays out, the rain isn’t much. If she runs in, it must be pouring.

Today is drier than it’s been so the air feels cooler without all the humidity. The breeze is ever so slight. I’m thinking the deck and a book will be perfect for today.

I learned to tell time when I was in the second grade. My aunt taught me. Later I found out why. That aunt, always and forever my favorite aunt, gave me a Cinderella watch for my first communion gift. I remember that watch perfectly. It had a light blue band and Cinderella, the face of my watch, was wearing a light blue gown. She was Princess Cinderella. I was thrilled with that gift and would make a big production of bending my elbow and raising my wrist to my face so I could check the time. I wanted my friends to notice my watch and be jealous.

I don’t wear a watch and haven’t for a long time. I have two of them, both gifts. The one I cherish was a 50th birthday gift from my mother. The watch is beautiful with a red band and silver decorations on it and around the watch, also silver. I wear it as an accessory sometimes, never as a timekeeper. The other watch was the proverbial thanks for your service here is a watch. It was a gift from the district when I retired. On its face is a promo for the district. I never wear that one.

When I travel, I generally bring a watch. I pin it to the inside of my bag. In the old backpacking days, I needed to know the time so I could catch a bus or a train. When I got to Ghana, I found out time there is relative. I needed a watch only to know when to teach. I always woke up early so an alarm wasn’t necessary and when I traveled, buses, other than those run by the country, leave when they’re full so a watch is a waste. It only made me impatient. Ghana has two time zones so to speak: European time and Ghanaian time. The first means the actual hour like be there at seven; the second means whenever you get there. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it makes life so much easier and far less hectic.

I’ll pin a watch to my bag this trip just as I did last year. I like to know the time when the roosters wake me up.