Thursday, June 22, 2006
Last year at this time, we were deep into the worst drought here since the dust bowl years; we were trapped under a huge, persistent dome of hot, dry air centered over northern Illinois, so that storms would continually churn east on I-80, then just stop as they hit this dome, and dissipate. Fortunately, this year, while still below normal in rainfall, we have lately been getting some hefty storms; of course along with this we have had eight tornadoes just in our county. There aren't very many things I like better though, than thunderstorms on warm summer nights in Iowa... going to bed when it's still and quiet, with lightning bugs rising from the grass, to flash through the silky, moist air... then in the middle of the night feeling a slight breeze suddenly start wafting in the window; a breeze which then picks up, and starts to rustle the leaves fitfully, with little gusts. The distant thunder is more felt than heard at first, but soon becomes a constant, low growling. By the time lightning begins to flicker, the wind is coming in like waves, with a slight coolness and you can smell the rain like newly-mowed hay. The storm suddenly gains speed, and crashes into our little valley, bending the tall black cherry trees this way and that, and the rain comes down in torrents, while the lightning and thunder become constant. I faintly hear the cat door thump downstairs, and we are soon joined in bed by our little black and white cat, wet as a mop. The next morning brings a bright blue sky, and cooler air from the north, with over an inch in the rain gauge. After last year, when the trees began losing their leaves in mid-summer so they fluttered down every day, like sad, yellow moths, I will never take rain for granted again.
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