Summer Night Storm

Summer Lightning

Sitting on my desk I have a thick folder of subject matter that I hope to address through this blog. But sometimes, most of the time lately, I feel I must write down my thoughts immediately about something I saw or read in the news. I feel compelled to comment on a timely event occurring in modern culture, or some recent announcement, or, like tonight, an experience that sinks down to my soul.

Summer night rain, a passing thunderstorm accompanied by lightning and thunder, is a gift that nature gives us to offset a sweltering summer day. This time of year in most parts of the U.S. there is always a possibility of an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. Of course, there are days when a high pressure ridge can park over the spot where you live and those storms will be abated. But if you are reading this blog in the Northern Hemisphere you know that during June, July, and August you will likely see thunderstorms.

For the last several weeks we have had at my location unusually hot daytime temperatures. The humidity is low, around 5% where we live, so it is tolerable. But when it gets to be 95 during the day, hot is hot whatever the humidity.

We live in Prescott, AZ at an elevation of a little more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Nights will cool down quickly at this elevation. And thank goodness we are not experiencing the daily crucible of our neighbor to the south, Phoenix, where daily temperatures for weeks at a time at 100-112 degrees are not unusual.

Over the last several days that parked high pressure ridge finally moved east. And with the start of our monsoon season, humidity and pop-up high-wind afternoon thunderstorms, the possibility of storms moves toward us from the east and south. Tonight, we had one of those storms with perfect timing. It was 92 degrees again today and with our air conditioning system struggling to keep the house cool it was nevertheless hot inside and out.

The stealth storm tonight built up quickly from seemingly nothing on the radar map. Alerts for severe thunderstorms began showing up on the corner my computer screen about 2 hours ago. And then on cue as I finally turned off my computer, I heard the first rumble of thunder. So, I went out to the garage, opened the door, shut off the interior/exterior lights and pulled up a chair to watch the show.

Summer night lightning embedded in an active thunderstorm is like watching fireworks. Combine that light show with sounds of the pounding of rain, then the slacking of that rain and the performance is enhanced. And when the rain stops and if the storm is a bit to your north, the direction you are looking, something magical happens. The light show continues and the sound of rain is replaced by the rhythmic chirping of crickets. The thunder smooths out and becomes less dramatic. A luscious cool breeze surrounds you. The air is saturated with humidity and raps around you like a velvet blanket. You sit without care or worry and just concentrate on that gift nature has given you that night.

I spend too much time in front of my computer each day. I am working on two novels, my start-up documentary video production company, writing this blog with regularity, marketing online all the work that I do and Amazon Kindle sells, answering email, and researching this or that. To be able to sit quietly, not think or dream, and just absorb the experience of a summer night thunderstorm is restorative. It recharges your batteries. It lowers blood pressure and focuses the mind on the here and now…on the moment. I have to do more of that, focus on the moment especially when beauty and peace unfolds in front of me.

Wherever you are in the world I hope you can do the same. Take time to look up at a blue sky, perhaps cloud-filled marked near the horizon by trees gently bending in the wind.

In 1802 an English Romantic poet that I am particularly fond of, William Wordsworth, wrote a wonderful sonnet that comes to mind more and more. I leave with you with his words:

The World Is Too Much with Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

 William Wordsworth

Frederick Fichman