Thunder has always put me on edge. The first thunderstorm that I can clearly remember was when I was four. We had just moved into the only house my parents ever owned, so everything was still strange and unfamiliar. My parents went back to the apartment that we had been living in previously to do some cleaning and tidy up any loose ends there. They left my two sisters in charge of my brother Mike and I.
The storm was fierce. It was one of those when the thunder begins with an explosion and then just keeps rolling; as if the sky just got torn in two. I remember that my sisters herded us into their bedroom and we all climbed into the double bed that they shared. The window shades we pulled down. And every time any peal of thunder ripped open another section of sky, one of my sisters would say, “It’s just the angels bowling in Heaven, and they just got another strike.”
I am not sure what I would have done if the situation was reversed. I do know that it wasn’t helpful at all, even to a four-year-old, to come up with the whole angels bowling story. I wasn’t sure if they were trying to convince me or themselves that there was nothing to be afraid of. If anything, on top of already being frightened, it made me also a little bit afraid of angels if that’s what it sounds like if they are merely playing.
Still to this day the rumbles of an approaching storm can put me on edge. Maybe it is because as the storm nears, the thunder becomes louder and more frequent. Thunder can be the herald of other threats of summer storms: high winds, or hail, or torrential rain. So, being a bit apprehensive of thunder isn’t necessarily unfounded. Yet, there is another side to thunder.
After a very wet spring this year, the past three weeks have been bone-dry. Most days there hasn’t even been enough humidity to form some thin, wispy clouds. Now, the temperature which had been fairly comfortable, has soared to 90 degrees the past two days.
Yesterday morning I had manage to catch a stringer of nice bluegills. When I got home around noon, I put all my gear away and went out to the table on the patio to clean the fish. About halfway through my chore I heard a distant rumble of thunder. Maybe it was the distance. Maybe it was because it wasn’t that loud yet; I had to stop and face the south to make sure I wasn’t hearing things. But it wasn’t fear that filled me; it was hope. I was hoping that the thunder would indeed be a harbinger of much-needed rain.
Over the next hour the thunder built. It grew louder and more frequent. Clouds too, were building in what had been an empty sky. But as the clouds darkened it became obvious that they were going to pass by to the south. Our share was about a two-minute downpour of large, pelting raindrops. It was barely enough to make everything wet.
However, some gardens and farm fields, planted in hope, were blessed with a good drenching. It is good to learn to be happy for others. But, as I write this essay this afternoon, clouds are building once again to the west and southwest. And, I just heard a low rumble of thunder. Maybe today.