Thursday, November 12, 2009

A wild night

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been able to tell when a storm was coming. Snowstorm or thunderstorm, I don't know what it is, but I always know it's going to happen. If I lived 100 years ago, before The Weather Channel, I would be the village weather girl. I would be on my horse like Paul Revere, riding through town hollering "the lightning is coming, THE LIGHTNING IS COMING."

It's a skill I have.

So this morning, when I woke up feeling a little off, I knew. I knew right away that something was coming. I didn't feel "it" yesterday (though the weather forecast was full of flood watches and high surf advisories). And honestly, I hadn't felt "it" in a while....for so long now, that I almost forgot what I felt like when a storm was coming, because we don't have storms here in Hawaii. Not really. Not like the ones on the mainland. So this morning, when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and my skin felt all tingly, and it sort of felt like I was underwater - and not just because humidity was at about 99% - I was confused...because it was a pretty nice day. There was definitely SOMETHING coming. But what? And when? I was waiting, waiting for the wind to shift, the air to change, the smell of dirt to fill the air almost as if it was anticipating the thirst-quenching raindrops. I was waiting and watching and listening. The sky darkened, there were a few passing showers, and I started to get a migraine from all of the pressure, from the closeness of the air and the damp of the wind.

At 3pm, when I started to hear some rumbling....I knew it wasn't a truck driving by, and I hoped it wasn't the volcano erupting (because if I react so strongly to a thunderstorm, I can only imagine the physiological reaction to an eruption). And after about an hour of intermittent rumbling - there was a burst of light across the darkened sky.

Now, you have to understand that this just Does Not Happen in Hawaii. We have rain, for sure. But not electrical storms. Which is why, when the first bolt of lightning lit up our living room, both kids screamed and ducked. Because for them it might as well have been a rocket grenade landing in our yard. Their reaction was one of total fear and panic and confusion. Lucy was squatted down on the floor, and Max put his hands over his head, and then just as quickly he was up on the sofa, nose pressed to the window watching to see if it was going to happen again. And just as Lucy got up, there was a crack of thunder so sudden and so loud that she dove back down for cover.

But once it had happened - a full cycle of lightning and thunder - and they had survived, and I had explained what exactly was going on out there, they were enthralled. They watched for the lightening to race across the sky, then counted together - slowly and carefully, as only a child still learning their numbers can count. "One One Thousand. Two One Thousand. Three One Thousand......."and as the numbers climbed higher, the counting slowed, as they anticipated the BOOM that they knew now was coming.

We spent a half hour like that - stretched out along the sofa, watching out the window, counting together, waiting for the call and response of the storm. Flashes and drumrolls and the wind whistling while the rain pelted the glass.

This just never happens in Hawaii.

No comments: