Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Wow, Leaguers... We had some serious weather last night here in the PHX. BOOM! POW! WHOOOOSH!!!!

We don't get too many days of rain and thunderstorms, but we do get these storms they call "monsoons". Now PHX is a little different from, oh, say, Myanmar. We don't get real monsoons, but we do get these wet fronts that come in from the ocean south of us, and... man... they can be sort of exciting. In the daytime they usually come with a wall of dust several stories high, just sweeping across the desert.

Last night we got the longest, most sustained lightning storm I'd ever seen in Arizona. It was the sort of fun you get in Dallas or occasionally in Austin, but without the fear of a twister coming and tossing you right out of your La-Z-Boy.


We do not have children, but we do have pets. And last night, for the first time in a long time, I let Mel sleep in bed with us. He was a little off from the storm, and he's so very happy when we let him sleep on the bed. Unfortunately, Mel is the size of a people. So when I came to bed last night, and Mel was sprawled across the foot of the bed, it was kind of a tough negotiation.

Jeff the Cat does not like rain. Or thunder. or lightning. So he curls up into a tiny ball, finds a spot where the sounds are quietest and just sits, slowly freaking out. He was hiding int he guest bath when I finally retired.

Lucy-Girl had to pee, and as she's seen rain maybe four or five times in her life, she wasn't feeling too confident when I kicked her outside. I felt pretty bad for her, so I went outside to lend her moral support, and man... the wind was kicking our trees around, rain was coming down by the bucket-load and it was like a Frankenstein movie with all the thunder and lightning. Lucy, of course, gav eup on being scared and decided 9:30 in a lightning storm is the perfect time to play fetch, especially with four inches of standing water in the yard.

The good news is she did pee. The bad news is I had to put her to bed still damp and disgruntled that I called the game of fetch short.

Growing up in Houston and Austin and weathering hurricanes and tornadoes, I do remember being scared of thunder and lightning. If Jason was around, like in one of the years we shared a bedroom or if it was during the day, it always helped. Trees might be snapping, the power might be out, but he'd look at me and say "Hey, pretend we're on a ship and we need to secure the ship." And we'd be sailors on a ship, battening hatches and pulling down sails, fearless against the elements. Or, "We're hiding in a cave from the dragon outside," and we were adventurers holed up in secret, snickering to ourselves about the loot we'd stolen from the dragon who was, even now, causing all that calamity just beyond the cave entrance.

And when that didn't work, he'd count it out for me. "Hear that...? That lightning flash and thunder? There was eight seconds between the flash and thunder. That was eight miles away..." Eight miles might as well have been in Paraguay... that was a safe distance.

I don't get as bent out of shape about the weather anymore. But I still think about riding on a wind-tossed ship in the sea, or in the cave hiding from the dragon... and occasionally in my DCU-addled brain I watch the lightning streak across the sky and I think of Captain Marvel going toe-to-toe with some monster hiding among the clouds. With one magic word and a bolt of mystic lightning, Billy Batson transforms from an ordinary boy to the World's Mightiest Mortal, a being of myths and stories. The kind of stories of adventure and adversity Jason used to make up on the spot when the monsters were reaching down out of the clouds.

And that's why these days I look forward to the thunder and lightning.


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