Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh, so THIS is what they mean by monsoons

That bit of rain I wrote about last week or whenever it was? That drizzle in a bucket? Those weak-sister flickers of lightning? That little purr of thunder? It was child’s play, it was the second string, it was not ready for prime time. It was nothing.

Last night I went out for a walk when the clouds were gigantic white puffs against an Arizona blue sky,

and turned around at the two-mile point to watch the sky darken in the west like someone flipped off the light and turned on the spigots. (I am not making these pictures up.)

When the wind began to whip I began to hustle and made it home about 15 minutes before the sky went as black as midnight and the deluge began. I have never been in a storm like this one and can’t wait for another. I turned off all the lights and sat crunched up against the dashboard so I could watch the show. The pretty little trees at the front of the RV parking spots, that in the 109 degree heat of two weeks ago I wished gave some actual shade, I now wished were the size of shrubs so they wouldn't block the view.

Thunder is an interesting thing. It’s deeper-voiced than James Earl Jones; it’s a giant sledge hammer breaking giant boulders; it’s a bowling ball crashing into pins; it’s ice cubes being levered loose in an old aluminum tray (raise your hand if you remember these); it’s a jet taking off; it’s the growl of the neighbor’s mean dog; it’s sky booms. Its partner, lightning, flashes indistinctly and indiscriminately across entire miles of sky; it’s so blindingly bright it leaves an after image on my eyes; it illuminates, not for split seconds but for multiple seconds. On Sunday I watched another storm from a distance and saw purple lightning. Purple! Last night, as the storm hung directly over Grace for about 10 minutes there was no time to count one Mississippi, two Mississippi; blinding lightning was immediately followed, in less than a split second, by crashing thunder that made me jump and vibrated the floor of the van.

Even after it moved on, lightning continued to light the sky with broad swaths of illumination, supernaturally bright. As the sound of thunder faded away, I found myself saying, do it again, God!

On Sunday I came in the south entrance of the park from visiting friends and had a ringside seat to another magnificent storm on the horizon. These pictures are from Sunday. I could hardly believe my eyes, looking at what was happening in the wide expanse of sky.

Thought of the day:

The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)