Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rain, a Tuesday morning in July

Tuesday morning we arose to a thick gray sky dull with greasy foreboding. Before long, faint curtains of rain fell on the hills to the east. We were treated to a rare, but not unknown, morning thunderstorm—usually one or two a year—that rattled the walls and flogged the ground with vengeful rain.

The rain and humidity stayed with us. By evening, violent lightning and thunder began without prelude or warning, like no lightning and thunder I'd ever heard before. It was the sound of pure explosions without grumbling or introduction. I went outside to observe it firsthand, and it was like dry lightning—violent, sudden, unnatural in its abruptness.

The storm clung to us like a drunken guest with no means to get home. Throughout the night it ranted and roared, pounding the house with fists of rain, then drifting off to sleep again. I don't know how many times it cycled like this, but by morning we were worn out by the compulsive worrying of the dogs.

Wednesday broke with the lingering clouds still with us, sleeping it off. There were hints of blue sky, but soon enough it was raining again. The view from work was singularly English, reminding me of the view north over Soughy Rigg from the Great Whin Sill.

Later that evening, the ride home was spectacular, with eruptions lightning compensating the darkness of widespread power outages. At times, literally the whole sky lit up like a singular dome of light; other times, it was licked by filaments of light that raced across from horizon to horizon.

Thursday dawned cool, clear and breezy—a day even rarer than a morning thunderstorm. The Blue Ridge is visible for the first time in many days.

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