I was born in a blizzard. In April. My parents brought me home, weaving carefully between snow drifts, hoping like hell that they didn’t hit black ice. And a few weeks later, the thunder storms started.
I grew up smack in the middle of the Snowbelt, in an area locally known as Tornado Alley. It’s a place where winter sticks around until it’s ready to leave – and it’s likely to come back for a visit, whether you want it to or not. The snow piles up so you can’t walk through it. And there are countless independently-owned snow plows in the city. Once the snow clears, there are often a few glorious weeks of cool air and sunshine and a breeze that doesn’t hurt your skin. And then the summer storms start rumbling through town and taking out trees. It’s called Tornado Alley for a reason.
Living here, protected by the escarpment, it’s just not the same. I never thought I’d say it, but I do miss the storms. I miss the wildness of it all – the way the thunder crashes so loud that you have to cover your ears. And the way it can rain so hard for so long that you can’t imagine how the streets haven’t flooded. Once, when I was a kid, while driving home from camp, we got caught in a downpour. The rain was so loud on the roof of the car that we couldn’t hear each other talk. We couldn’t even hear the thunder. But we could see the lightning. All at once, the sky lit up – it was so bright that all of the street lights went out and everything went black. In the middle of the blackness, way down at the end of the road, this huge bolt of lightning came out of the sky and hit the ground and the ground exploded. It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen. And it was beautiful.
After any bad storm, when it all dies down, there’s this calm that settles over everything. Everything is soaked and the grass is already greener and the sun starts to shine again. I think more than anything, I miss that calm. The calm that comes after the storm. The calm that you can only appreciate after you’ve felt the electricity in the air.