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.
2 thoughts on “Thunderstorms”
I like fog. While other people feel frightful or trapped, I feel the security of the cool wet semi darkness.
I never like hot sunny days and nights. Growing up in Bakersfield (Everyone I meet tells me their “How hot Bakersfield was” story) was torture. Long cloudless summers of 100 degree plus temperature and laying in the top bunk next to the wall vent of the almost cool air from the rooftop swamp cooler sweating and unable to sleep. I was elated when the foggy days of fall and winter enveloped the city. A greyness that swallowed up the world just a stone toss away. Some days school would not open with the Tule fog so thick and impenetrable.
I survived a deployment to Yuma, Arizona while in the Marines by the only air conditioned barracks I ever experienced and drinking a quart of orange juice each morning.
Living in Orange County was hell too. I headed for the closest theater for Twilight movies after work for air conditioned reprise from the heat.
Deciding to attend San Francisco State University and staying in the city by the bay was preordained. Embracing the comforting mists again and sleeping peacefully through the night while fog horns blared. Seeing fingers of fog reaching down the hillsides near SFO beckoning me home was comforting after weeks of vacation baking under Hawaiian skies.
I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I’ve seen the Tule fogs. Had some cousins that lived in Porterville. Saw the fogs from above and below. Pretty awesome.
Guess I was fortunate that you lived in SoCal for a while so that we could meet.
One of the reasons that Bernd and I moved to the middle of Arizona at the higher elevations was to escape the heat. Then climate change happened. So now we are here in Wyoming at about the same elevation as we were in Arizona.
The summers are much cooler than they were in AZ. Winters are much colder, but we really like it.
Fog always made me nervous … mostly for having to drive in it. But I can understand how you might find fog comforting.
It’s great to know that you are so happy to be where you are. Thanks for sharing your memories!