Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weather. The most Minnesotan topic in the world.

I love weather. Specifically storms, but Minnesotan weather in general. Weather that is not calm, predictable, boring. It is a force to be reckoned with. It's uncontrollable. Wild. We can try to predict it, prepare for it, be afraid of it, revel in it, but we can't any more control it than we can control when we die. As they say, "wait five minutes and it'll change.

I feel like relating anecdotes. Here we go.

I'm four, sitting on the livingroom floor, at ten in the morning in Minneapolis, and the world outside is dark as midnight. The storm hits, then a doozy of a lightning bolt. That crack remains to this day the loudest noise I've ever heard. My dad was standing at the upstairs window and saw it hit a tree not 25 yards from our house. The electricity made his heart skip, and it beat irregularly for days. In getting to the tree, the bolt vaporized part of the chain-link fence. Bam. gone.

I'm twelve or so. We live in Wisconsin now, and it's December. There is a blizzard of LauraIngallsWilder proportions raging outside. We eat beef stew by candlelight and feel archaic and unspeakably cozy. Grateful.

I'm sixteen, I think? At summer camp. I come to bed in the staff cabin at about 2 am. Miss Allison Steddom is sitting on the porch. She sticks her head in. "Lucie, come outside. You have to see this." I go outside. The lightning is unearthly. No rain, just blazing light from horizon to horizon, stronger and sharper than any strobe. The world is alternately bright as noon, then tar-black, every single shaking twig on the trees in brilliant detail. hardly knowing what I'm doing, or why, I start to sing How Great Thou Art. we sit there and sing, Alli and Callie and I. "I see the stars/I hear the rolling thunder/Thy power throughout the universe displayed/then sings my soul/How Great Thou Art."

Just last month, Heather and I sat on the front stoop in Dinkytown, on a weekend night watching the world get cleaned by rain and thunder and light. People run by, laughing, enjoying the force of the storm. The lights are on in a few windows across the street, a dude in a towel walks by his open window. The light is odd, warm, expectant. The street looks tropical, like Jamaica and New Orleans do when it rains.

and now here i am, with the branches thrashing outside the window, when i should be sorting the laundry and packing my lunch. That's all.

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