The kids are watching Looney Tunes during their quiet time. We adults have snuck away to various bedrooms and porches, much more in need of rest and silence than the children are. Like the best children's books (the Frances books and pretty much all of William Steig's works), rest time strikes me as a brilliant example of parents creating things as much for our benefit as our babies'.
I am sitting on a rocking bench on the covered balcony off our room, feet propped on a side table. Across the street, just beyond the few homes over there, the inland bay starts. It's a lovely body of water, always calmer than the ocean on the flip side of our home. There, the waves slap the beach, minute after minute, during high tide and low. It's wonderful in a more tumultuous way.
This inlet though is largely waveless. Its movement is uni-planar, first sliding one way and then back from whence it came.
The sky over our house is blue and dotted with puffy white clouds. But they are hurrying away from something, and when I look across the little bay, I see a quickly-advancing wall of ominous gray. I can literally see it moving towards me, the wisps of black seeming to rush more quickly than the heavier charcoal shroud behind them.
Zig-zags of lightning sizzle through the sky, slicing it cleanly before dissipating. The thunder is ear-splitting. I wait for it eagerly, but jump a little in my seat each time it erupts. My heart jumps a little too.
The black wisps are circling now. They suggest a tornado, or for Harry Potter fans, dementors. Gulls glide lazily atop the whimsical air currents, seemingly unconcerned about the storm that is definitely coming.
There is no rain yet, not even a drop. I glance at the bay and see tiny whitecaps racing toward the shore. The lightning is striking as wide as my periphery will allow- one zig, three!
The boy on the porch across the street yells, "The storm is comin'! It's comin' this way!" The neighbors next door are on their porch too, chatting and laughing and periodically saying, "Ooh, look at that one." One of the women there has the craziest fake-red hair and is always ringing her arms with hula hoops. Is she exercising? Is she a performer? She's heading down the stairs in an orange bikini and a purple, crushed velour jumper. It's backless and teensy. Wher e is she going now??
The winds are gusting with wild abandon, and the temperature must have dropped ten degrees. My hair is blowing across my face and into my eyes; I either need to pin it back or give up.
The flag next door has wrapped itself tightly around its pole. Is it readying itself for what we all know is coming? One last gull flies away, and now I see no more birds. It is downright cold now, and still, no rain. The trees are blowing this way and that, beach towels hung out to dry are whipping the posts and rockers on which they perch.
The clouds are still though, and it's eerie. How can my hair by flying back like I'm a supermodel on a shoot but the clouds are still?
Here it comes. The rain is spattering my legs, the can of selzter I had on the ground next to me is rolling away. Everyone is out watching. And waiting. Our anticipation is as palpable and electric as the lightning.
I love thunderstorms. This promises to be a good one.