Monday, April 26, 2010

Things that Go BOOM in the Night

Last night we had the first full-blown thunderstorm of the spring here in Northern VA. (At least, the first that I've been awake/home for.) As I lay in bed watching the lightning flashes show through my blinds and curtains, I found myself picturing a few of my very rare childhood memories.

When I was little I used to be terrified of thunderstorms. I remember pulling the covers over my head so that I couldn't see the lightning flash and on the chance that I did see the flashes, I would carefully count the time between the flash and the roll of thunder that was sure to follow. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. BOOM!!! It's okay, I would reassure myself. That lightning strike was a mile away. I was so afraid of lightning striking one of the trees across the street from my house that I would count faster just to convince myself that the lightning was further away than it actually was. What never failed to amaze me, though, was that while I was cowering in my bed, my older sister, Alicia, and my older brother, Nathanael, would be sitting out on our deck watching the lightning until Mom called them in to go to bed. I couldn't understand it. How could the lightning not scare them? Those trees across the street were close enough that if lightning struck one of them it would fall and hit our house. It would hit ME. In my bedroom. In my bed cause I was in the top bunk of the bunk bed that I shared with my younger sister, Rachel.

I don't remember how old I was the first time I sat on the deck to watch the lightning, but I'm pretty sure I was at least fifteen. I still counted to make sure the lightning wasn't going to fry me. Funny how that works. I mean, if the lightning was close enough to hit me, I wouldn't have been counting, but that fact never occurred to me. Not once. As time passed and I started college, summer breaks and summer storms found me out on the deck with a book in my hand. I would sit on the porch swing and read while the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled around me. When it stopped bothering me, I don't know, but I remember finding myself putting my book down to stare in wonder at the sky as it lit up bright as day each time the lightning came within a mile of my seat. Even in something as potentially devastating as a lightning strike, God saw fit to place a sense of beauty.

My favorite memory of sitting out watching a thunderstorm is one that was created in 2001. My family had gone down south to visit Alicia and her husband, Brian, to meet the first nephew/grandchild. I was enamored with Ethan and constantly wanted to hold him and entertain him. One day it started to rain so I took Ethan and a book out on my sister's front porch and while the rain was pouring, the lightning flashing and the thunder rolling, Ethan laid on my legs fast asleep while I read. Best day ever.

I cannot wait until Joseph builds our deck out back or a porch out front so I can sit outside and enjoy the summer storms again. Until then, I'll enjoy my memories and perhaps set up a lawn chair in my garage and read with the garage door open so I can smell the rain, see the lightning, and hear the thunder.


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love thunderstorms . . . as long as the lightning doesn't hit my house (or any other homes). My husband and I watched a house in the neighborhood burn a few years ago after it was hit by lightning.

Alicia said...

I didn't know you were afraid of them - especially for that long! They always made me want to dance in them, like it was a party. I did that sometimes, but even I knew that that was a little reckless. But I do miss the simple freedom of being able to run for the door when the first thunder rumbles. I used to soak them in, now I just try to take in a little of the joy in between babies and dishes. :^) And that's such a cute memory of Ethan. I think I remember that. And I love holding sleeping babies.

dArLyN said...

i dont like thunderstorms..make me shudders and i kind of had a trauma of lightning when it stroked our tree at the backyard..

Hannah said...

@ Alicia - Crazy, huh? Yeah. I was not a fan for the longest time and in Florida we got some pretty bad storms so that didn't help either. Of course, one of the coolest storms I ever saw was one out in the Gulf while I was at the beach. It wasn't raining on the beach, but you could see the storm out on the water. Soooo cool!