There is so much to love about our home here in Wyoming. But there are a few things I miss about our previous home in Arizona. Thunderstorms are one of them.
In our previous house, the nook off of our kitchen faced mainly east. During the summer, most of the weather came at us from the east. That’s why it is called “monsoon.” During the rest of the year, the weather came at us mainly from the west. Monsoon basically means “a seasonal shift in the direction of the prevailing winds.” Or something like that. Anyway, the monsoon winds cycled a lot of moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico with dramatic effect.
The afternoon thunderstorms were welcome for the cooling they brought to the day. But the thunderstorms that happened after the sun had set were my favorite.
We would sit in the nook with all the lights in the house turned off and watch the show. We would talk about the day, about tomorrow, and whatever came to mind. Or we would be silent waiting to hear the thunder. Barely breathing. Listening hard.
When the storm was far off, there was no thunder. The lightning strikes would be silent and low down on the horizon. Some just a distant brief flash of light from behind the far off mountains.
As the storm approached, the lightning strikes would rise higher and higher in the sky. And the thunder would come to us, louder and louder.
Often, it seemed as if the storm was heading straight for us and us alone. Like we were magnets pulling the weather this way and that. Drawing it ever closer until the lightning was directly overhead and the thunder was deafening.
Then all talking would cease. There would be only the very visceral experience of the storm. Flash after flash of light and thunder so almost constant that it seemed it might never end.
You could feel it in your bones. In the pit of your stomach. Primal and awesome and too beautiful for words.
Often, I couldn’t stay indoors. I would have to step out into the rain, whipped by the wind, penetrating to every part of our deck. To feel the wind as it howled and the lashing rain, to see the lightning, purple and green, and to hear the thunder unfettered by windows and walls was like suddenly stepping naked into a world so wild it was overwhelming.
It was a feeling like nothing else.
We don’t really get those kinds of thunderstorms where we live in Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, there are thunderstorms. But they are not the wild and powerfully elemental things that they are in Arizona.
I miss the Arizona thunderstorms. But at least I have the memory of them.