Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I was just packing it in on the old work day when a tremendous BOOOM! rattled the windows and I said to myself, “…wait…was that thunder?”

Friends…this morning, it was a balmy, clear day. Cool, but not cold. Hint of fall, but still summery. And then, just as I was getting ready to head out for Denizen pickup, it started to thunder, and far, far away I could see little flashes of lightning.

I hadn’t gotten two blocks when the water began to come down from the heavens in buckets. It rained cats. It rained dogs. It rained chickens and antelopes. It rained as if it meant it, big fat juicy drops that almost hurt when they hit exposed skin.

The streets filled up fast. Lakes began to form. Driving to get the kids, I could barely see where I was going. Other drivers were apparently unaware of the situation, and were driving like complete nuckin’ idiots they could actually see the road.

Frequently, they would hit roadside lakes at full speed, sending up huge plumes of water from their startled wheel wells.

I got soaked just dashing from the van into the center. And then got double soaked getting back to the van, trying to keep Captain Adventure from rolling in the mud like a happy little pig, trying to keep Boo Bug from dawdling, trying to keep Danger Mouse from pulling out papers from her backpack to show me. Seriously, you are getting SOAKED, in the RAIN…not a good time for paperwork, babe…

I drove home with my senses tingling, white-knuckled and tense, as lightning flashed around us, as the streets got less and less passable, as earth that has forgotten what water even is did its best to deal with the sudden onslaught, as storm drains that had nodded off while waiting through the long, lonely summer awoke to find themselves overrun, trying to remember their training, trying not to panic as the water surged into them…OK! Ya! So, uh, keep it, erm, moving, people! Small molecules first! HEY, NO TREE BRANCHES!!

The lightning began to get closer, and closer, and closer. The crack-boom were nearly instantaneous, the light bright enough to hurt my eyes, the closeness of it setting off the instinct to get out of there.

The lizard in my brain sensed a predator, y’all. A big, invisible monster that was going to nail us if we hung around. {Crack!...Boom!} … {Crack!..Boom!} … {Crack!.Boom!.Crack!BOOM!CRACK!BOOM!!!!}

And behind me, cacophony. Captain Adventure screamed with laughter each time there was a sizzling crack and thunderous boom. Danger Mouse was yelling some complicated story or question or something. Boo Bug laughed with her brother at first, then realized she was missing a prime opportunity for whimpering and switched over to that.

Then we got home, and being the meanest mommy ever I herded them all indoors away from the fun of swimming in their very own front yard…and the lightening, which continued to slash around us from all directions like a demented disco ball.

I watched in amazement as the front planter box filled, and overflowed, and began to crawl up the porch. I watched our court fill, the water puddling and pooling, sending questing fingers all along the curb, looking for a way out of the concrete trap it had fallen into.

I watched a car on the access street hit a new-formed lake at what seemed like about thirty miles an hour, a wall of water shooting up all around it, watched it slip and slide and spin a quarter of the way around, wincing in anticipation of metal on metal, praying it would somehow not crunch sickeningly into the parked cars lining the street…and it didn’t. It collected itself and proceeded onward down the street, perhaps just a little more cautiously now.

And then the rain began to slow. Less than an hour into the storm, the drops lost their rotund shape, the pace began to slacken. The thunder still boomed and the lightning still cracked, but it was moving away, further and further away. The crack and the boom were separating again, one-alligator-two-alligator-three-alligator-four. Four miles now, now five, now six.

Now silent.

The ferocity of the rain tapered down and down and down, until it was barely more than a heavy misting, falling daintily all around.

The water receded, as fast as it had pooled. The pond growing on my doorstep that I’d been eyeballing nervously for ten minutes stopped its attempted conquest of the front door and crept quietly back into the lawn, sank into the thirsty ground…vanished.

The pavement of the court appeared again. The rippling lake was gone, gone as if it had never been there, gone into the drains, into the ground…gone, leaving us staring and blinking and wondering if we just imagined the rising waters, the pelting rain, the drops the size of a quarter…

Mother Nature Says: It’s Fall. And don’t you forget it! {crack-BOOM!}


Marty52 said...

Great post!! You have such a way with words... CRACK!!BOOM!!... I could feel your panic.

Marty52 said...

Oh... one more thing... I loved your description of the storm drains trying to remember their training... perfect.

PipneyJane said...

Stunningly beautiful writing, Tama. Like poetry.

- Pam (glad you didn't flood)

Anonymous said...

Garden is happy, I bet?

Anonymous said...

Brought back wonderful memories of Hurricanes on the east coast where I grew up. Mom would (sometimes) let us on the porch to watch the blinding rain spinning sideways in the wind - then the eye of the hurricane - such silence - then watching the wind and rain approach as the hurricane blew over us again. Pretty exciting for little kids - scary for us adults.
Nancy FP in Ferndale