Last week we had the strangest weather. Rain and thunderstorms followed by humid, unbearable heat. Last Monday we got up to 101F (38C). Sitting in my car waiting for my class to start at 6:15 pm, it was still about 95F (35C)! Which is why I was in my car, engine idling, AC full blast.
A few days before the heat we had a crazy storm blow through. I thought a neighbor was moving trash cans I kept hearing the familiar plastic rumbling sound. The thing about moving trash cans is that there’s sort of a slow Doppler effect: the sound starts out far away, gets louder as they roll even with wherever I am, then fades away. This rumbling was sustained as if it was on an asphalt treadmill. There was never a big clap, just this sort of roiling. I’ve never heard thunder like that before.
It was early evening and already chilly, so I grabbed a blanket and told my sister, Shelly, to sit with me on the porch. We hunkered down and watched the lightening, which would streak across the sky in jagged pink cracks. “OOOOOO!” we’d holler, loud enough to echo across the street, and count down until that grumbly thunder started. My step-dad went on-line and found the storm’s exact location and trajectory. It was dumping buckets of rain to the north and east of us. We were situated in a little pocket of clear, but the storm was closing in.
Eventually giant dollops of rain fell around us. My mom came out to join our little storm-watching party. My step-dad pointed out a huge black and yellow swallowtail butterfly perched on a corner of the roof, sitting perfectly still with its wings closed as if intentionally making itself razor-thin to avoid being bombed by the huge raindrops.
A low shelf of dark clouds passed over the mountains and headed straight for us. About every 3 minutes a lightening bold shot horizontally across its underside. “OOOOO!” we’d shout like a bunch of 7-year-olds in a science class.
The best came last. It looked like a giant spider: I saw at least three bolts shoot out from a spot on the sky hidden by a tree. “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! OMG did you SEE that?!”
Once the storm passed, I caught these shots from my parents’ backyard. The post-storm dusk was amazing of course, but the colors everywhere were breathtaking. They made even the utilitarian parts of the yard seem magical.