Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5: Thunder

A real storm rolled through early this morning, the loud peals of thunder waking me and the cat several times (my husband sleeps through almost anything). At one point the lightning was flickering so frequently that I got up to make sure that a streetlight hadn't been struck. It was like a strobe light on the wet, pre-dawn streets of the neighborhood.

Thunder doesn't frighten me as it did when I was a child. I remember my father telling me when I was very young that even though the thunder sounds like it's booming right over the house, it's really far away. He explained how sounds travels more slowly than light, how if he rang a bell at the end of our street, I'd see the bell move before I heard it ring. For some reason it reassured me to know that there was some science behind the rumbling roars that startled me in the middle of the night. Maybe thinking about the bell just gave me something else to focus on.

Now when I'm awakened by a thunderstorm, I think of other things: how my husband was struck by lightning once and for years was terrified whenever a storm crashed overhead. Or how the sky gods were always the rulers in ancient pantheons, wielding their lightning bolts and thunder claps to keep humans and fellow deities in line. Or how we've really needed this rain after weeks of perfect, sunny weather, to renew the earth and maintain this lush green with its abundance of early blossoms that we've all been enjoying so much. We relish it because it's so strange to us here in Maine--the true spring that we always deserve after winter but never really get.

And now our first big thunderstorm ushers in summer, just two weeks away, with a bang.

Thunder beckoned forth
riverside iris, yellow
as summer sunlight.

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