Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stormy Weather

I love approaching storms on sunny days. The looming power rolls in on the horizon, slowly and steadily pushing back the the blue sky in sumo style. Thunder follows, rumbling a gentle warning, telling the people scurrying below to quit playing around; it means business. I like how the wind goes before it, curling around trees and bones and chilling the air just a little, just enough to let you know that the tongues of wind come from a gaping mouth of rain. Those invisible tongues shake leaves and rattle wind chimes, sound so cheerful that they're nearly ominous, they clink "Take cover! Enjoy the sun while it lasts!"

I love being able to look into the heart of a storm and see where it drips and moans on the hills miles away; I can say to myself, "Ah, that'll hit here before too long," and feel smug when I have found shelter just before the rain pounds on doors and windows and those unfortunate people who didn't check the weather report or bother to look up.

I love the fresh smell of rain in the distance. It smells like water in a clean glass bottle. It smells like a glockenspiel sounds. It's a smell in the absence of scent, tinged perhaps by whatever collected to form the storm clouds. There's no water whose fragrance is as clear and nonexistent as rain; creek water smells like a creek, seawater smells like salt and everything that used it as bathroom, dew smells like grass. When I smell the rain I anticipate the smell of wet earth and flora, and I inhale again and again to purge my lungs of all the city smells collected within.
I love the darkening sky, how it tints everything a vivid grayish blue, and how it makes colors pop from their concrete backgrounds instead of fading in the sunlight.

There's no sky that affects my psyche like a heavy daytime storm. If I'm seated under fluorescent lights it makes me sleepy and a little grumpy. In the states when driving I used to feel an exaggerated sense of anticipation; would I be braving floods in the near future? Would a tornado form? Would it rain so hard that I'd only be able to see a few feet in front of my fender, and strain my eyes for the white lines on the road and tell stories on the way home of how everyone went 30 miles per hour on the interstate highway? In Japan when I'm walking or biking I get a little adrenaline rush. Can I outrun a storm? Am I faster than the angry gathering of clouds that flooded parts of China and lost little speed on its way to swell the rivers of western Honshu? Can I defeat the sky by finding shelter before the storm catches sight of me and throws wet wrath on my head?

I love marvelling at the awesome power of a storm. It's evocative. It overpowers the senses. It is beautiful and terrifying all at once. Still, common sense snorts at all my purple prose as I stand at the bus stop and stare at the clouds, saying, "Wax poetic all you want, but you should have at least brought an umbrella. Idiot."


  1. OMGosh that was like, super good and like, really powerful and stuff. I think I'm going to be a storm chaser.

  2. Why do I want it to rain now? Answer me!
    Nice pic.