Summer Storm

Drifting in and out of the house one day, I paused to enjoy the green world off my back porch. The Trident maple and mimosa tee we planted have grown tall. Their dark and light greens, respectively, make deeper and shallower shades; they block much of the view into the rest of the yard. A carpet of lawn sweeps uphill between them and past the garden. Swaying behind that is the curtain of woods that serves as the back drop to our outside lives.
It is summertime, thus the opportunity to drift. The humidity is rising and the air presses against my skin, my face, and eventually my lungs. Everything feels like the surface of a pond.
The first clouds of the afternoon whisper white across the darkening sky. I drift inside and the air conditioning slaps like a cold wash cloth across my heat sleepy senses. Before dark I am back outside again. Now the clouds are huge, high, and bunched up like the gods of fluffy white sheep. A rising breeze stiffens and bends branches to its will. All day I have seen light green flashes as leaves flipped upside down, and now the single leaf warnings grow into whole trees waving. The woods bend and murmur.
Still no rain: only its promise, or its threat.
The official sunset is blanketed by cloudy darkness. When night arrives, it is simultaneous with the storm. The two wrangle like rambunctious kids. Will they fit in the space available? Not in my yard! During the day I can measure the sky in a glance; not so with night. Night feels bigger than day because my imagination fills in the visual gaps. The winds sweep through our property with the same energy that rivers pour down to the sea. The congealed air is finally flowing. In the dark it is hard to see anything but much easier to feel. It feels crowded.
Lightning blinks in the distance. When it gets closer it stretches and lingers overhead. Rumbles of thunder growl everywhere at once, rolling from hill to hill. At last, sheets of rain fall in heavy waves that obscure pavement and grass alike. All else wavers under the weight of water. Sound is the thunder of the storm in lightning, waterfall, and wind. Sight is long sheets of blackness with strips of quick brilliant light. Energy pounds the house and the senses. Inside feels safer, but doors shudder from the storm. ‘Safer’ is as good as it’s going to get for tonight. At least the showery hot day is cooling into a chill damp night. The house proves itself once again by holding out through another night.
Heavy and wet, the storm trundles away, crossing from west to east. In the distance it sounds tired and grumpy. The air smells of electricity. It smells of rainwater. In the dark there is no rainbow; only the chirping of awakened frogs.