Saturday, June 04, 2005


This afternoon after a thunderstorm-threat picnic out on the beach we came back and I did one of my favorite things during thunderstorms other than run around in them – brings back a memory: in Spain where we lived on another mountainside above the Mediterranean, in an old finca without running water, whenever a thunderstorm was headed our way we'd take off all our clothes, run into the almond orchard with soap and there take the finest shower there is – ah yes, where was I – as the thunderstorm circled I was lying down with a good book (Changes in the Land, by William Cronon) when I started hearing these very strange sounds from within the rain and thunder, oddly misplaced metallic sounds; then the wind picked up and suddenly rain was blowing on me from the open window three meters away as the surroundsound grew louder, so I got up to close the window and couldn't see outside well, the air was all a gray vagueness like in a wet train window, all was moving sideways and I realized the wind was that strong, but what was that sound, that metallic pinging, like falling bits of sheet metal crescendoing now – I ran downstairs and the deck was already all white with what it was: quail-egg-sized hail, streaking, bouncing flying everywhere. Nothing to do but watch and wait and hope the stones didn’t get any bigger, smash our new roof tiles, on which it was ringing, as violent as nature can be when suddenly freed of restraint - it had clearly been wanting to rain for a couple hours and had been juggling those raindrops into hailstones all the meanwhile - the wind and the ice globs fast-ripped small branches off the trees, not too good for the car finish either, or for the new spinach, lettuce and tomatoes... on the other hand maybe the monkeys got caught in it but I doubt it, nature isn't partial to favors when it lets loose... then it all waned and passed and the sky was a calm blue around the mountains, no sound but of water roiling down toward the Lake, and a few thousand stunned frogs ribbeting warily... now an hour later as I ponder firewooding the storm is circling again to the south, hasn't had enough...

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