I miss a good thunderstorm. Growing up in North Texas, thunderstorms were a regular occurrence. They would roll across the flat plains with no obstructions, gaining strength, pummeling down rain and lighting the sky with natural fireworks. The thunder would build slowly, or fade slowly, over a half a minute or more. People would bring lawn chairs onto their covered porches and just watch the sky – better than TV some nights.
I lived in Charlotte, NC, for seven or eight years before moving to Finland. Yes, Charlotte gets thunderstorms, but not like in Texas, not like the Plains states. In Charlotte, they’re rare, and when they do happen, trees and hills obstruct the weather and the view. Everyone I know in Charlotte who is from the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas area feels the same – they miss a good thunderstorm.
We had a thunderstorm here in Finland today. Not what I would classify as a good one, but it was probably one of two or three we might get this year. I smelled it first – that wonderful smell of rain hitting cement, one of my favorite smells in the world. It rained steadily, if lightly, for a while, before that cool burst of air finally hit, dropping the temperature by 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) over the course of a minute. Then that crack, that rumble, not enough to feel through your whole body, but enough to make you stop, close your eyes, and smile.
I can remember two specific thunderstorms that I would say are the best I’ve ever experienced. The first was in Northwest Arkansas about 12 years ago. I was out camping with friends in the mountains, and we sat on a cliff and watched the storm roll through the valley. It was electrifying, one of those scenes from a movie where the man and woman get charged up from the storm, and in the next scene they’re inside, tearing each other’s clothes off, while lightning illuminates their skin.
The second was actually in Charlotte, about five years ago. My friends and I were out on the lake, in a boat with a tall metal tower, around 10pm at night – about the last place you want to be during a thunderstorm. We were racing to get off the lake, going as fast as we could, at once cowering in fear and smiling in exhilaration. “Holy crap, this is scary, Oh My God this is awesome!”
I remember reading, years ago, about a place in Western Canada that is supposed to be phenomenal for watching storms roll in off the ocean. I was telling Stephen about this recently, and had to look it up: Tofino, Canada, on Vancouver Island. I hope to visit someday…
What’s the best thunderstorm you’ve ever experienced?
Baby J Update – 27 days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!