Lightening and Thunder

I love to get outside and be in nature, and on occasion to witness some of the power of nature. I grew up in Southern Utah. The town I grew up in was Cedar City, and it sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Where we lived was less than a mile from the upward ascent of the front part of the range, and as the crow flies, 10,000 feet wasn’t more than a mile and a half from our home, although it took a lot longer to drive up the canyon and reach that point. I remember on so many occasions watching clouds coming from the west. The clouds would be dark and heavy. They would run into the slope of the mountain. It was almost like watching water hit an obstacle, and they would churn around and then turn and move north along the edge of the mountains. Nature is beautiful, amazing, and can sometimes be extremely scary.

We didn’t get a lot of rain, we were a high mountain desert, but we had thunderstorms roll through several times a summer. I love thunder and lightening. For some reason I was never afraid of it, and I liked to sit outside under the covered porch and watch for the lightening, count the seconds, and listen for the thunder. Then the rain would start, coming down almost like someone was dumping out a bucket. Often with the really big thunderstorms we would get hail as well. The porch was covered with a metal roof, and it was so loud on that roof, but I loved listening.

The first time my kids started to be more aware of the different aspects of the city when they visited, they asked why all the gutters were so deep, it didn’t seem to them that it ever rained there. But I said, it’s because they fill to overflowing when it rains. I don’t think they really believed me at the time. My parents live on the uphill side of the street, and the street slopes down the width, fairly gradually, and it’s almost imperceptible if you’re not looking. But I remember every time it would rain, the neighbors across the street would have their gutters full of hail and water halfway across the yard to their front door. One of the most impressive things to me as well, was that it would rain like that for 10 or 15 minutes, completely stop, and the sun would be out in just minutes, the sky almost cloudless again. But it was beautiful, everything was clean and fresh. And the air, I love the smell of the air after it rains.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a funeral that was held outdoors. Here in Alaska thunderstorms used to be rare, but in the last 10 or so years that have increased more and more. Yesterday was a beautiful day, the memorial was beautiful, but as it was winding down, the thunder started. I sat and listened, loving the sound. We had a nice meal for the family, and just as we finished eating, the rain, and then the hail began. It always amazes me how fast the weather can change and how we need to be prepared for any kind of weather. This was no exception. Hail the size of overgrown peas fell hard and fast as we tried to get things cleaned up. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but I loved every minute of it. I miss my family often, I am grateful for the technology we have to stay connected, and for the ease with which we can travel long distances. But yesterday was a delightful reminder of home for me, even though it might have been inconvenient timing, it was such a beautiful blessing.