Watching the storm

Well spring finally appears to be here. I don’t know how it has been for the rest of you, but in Ohio winter has not wanted to quit. We got snow three weeks ago, and not light fluffy snow, but the heavy stuff that becomes muck to drive in.

But tonight I am enjoying one of the simple pleasures. I am sitting in my office with the lights low and the windows open, listening and watching the storm go by.

Personally, I love a good thunderstorm, and when this post is finished I may adjourn to my screened-in porch for a better view. One of my best memories of a storm was back when I was a teenager up in Cedar Campus, a 500 acre camp in the middle of the north woods of the upper peninsula of Michigan. We’d spent the day in Cedarville watching the 4th of July parade, complete with vintage cars and pretty decent fireworks for a town in the middle of nowhere.

But they did not even compare to the experience of “God’s fireworks” that night. Cedar Campus is not rustic by any means, but being in a cabin in the middle of the woods when there’s a good storm is an experience like no other.

(Sorry went AFK for a few seconds there, thought I heard a tornado siren).

We’ve had a number of good storms since my wife and I got married. A few months before we got married we were doing some last minute planning, and a windstorm with gusts of up to 60 mph knocked out our power, and put a tree through the windshield of the little red haired girl’s car (like a lance). The effects were fairly widespread, with power lines down throughout the city, meaning unfortunately I would have to spend the evening sitting my candlelight with my bride to be.

What a shame.

I used to work for the library just down the street from me, and one of my best memories of working there was when we had a storm sit over our little suburb for an hour and a half. The gutters had clogged and sections of the ceiling were beginning to come down due to the water coming through, meaning we all had to scramble to protect the floor and more importantly the books! (an experience eBook readers may not relate to). We used an array of book shipment bins to create a bucket layer on the floor, and enlisted patrons and everyone on staff to move books to safer parts of the library. By the end of the night we were an island, and I actually carried a few of the staffers out to their cars.

We actually lose power a lot around here, so much so that I actually bummed one of the UPSs (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) from work (thank you warranty returns). Hopefully it won’t need to kick in while I’m writing (since the internet will go down in a power outage anyway). One of my parent’s wedding presents to us was a weather radio\flashlight with a hand crank and it has seen it’s share of use.

But I don’t see storms, or losing power as a pain in the butt. Maybe it isn’t to surprising that a guy who likes fractals is fascinated by lightning, but it’s everything about storms really. The smell right after a good rain, the sound of hail dropping on the roof of our porch (or acorns if it’s a windy storm and the time is right). Sipping a beer and watching the show.

I don’t know what it is but there’s something about a good storm, even a crazy thunderstorm that is … peaceful. Maybe it’s just a good moment to snuggle with someone you love, or maybe it’s an appreciation for things that are bigger than ourselves. I’m not a nature guy most of the time, being in a technical field, so it is nice to have these reminders to pull me out of the safe world I’ve created for myself.

What’s your best storm story?


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3 responses to “Watching the storm

  1. I actually enjoyed the notorious Ice Storm of ’98. We lost power for more than two weeks and my little brother and I had to stay at my friend’s house because they had working wood stoves. We got an extended holiday vacation and the trees falling over because they were covered in ice were actually kind of pretty.

    P.S. Even though it’s “spring”, we’re supposed to get 2-3 inches of snow tomorrow. 😦 Will it ever end?

  2. Ben, nice piece. For me its sitting on our covered front porch, enjoying a summer rain. Thunderstorms are even better, but the freshened air after a summer, when the moisture takes the harsh edge off the hot summer air is really enjoyable. Of course its going to mean a lot of humidity the following day, but I still enjoy the storms. (Ha, it just occurred to me that the high humidity here at 40 to 50 percent is probably nothing for a lot of folks, but our normal summer humidity is more like 10 to 15 percent.)

    Anyway, your article took me out there to the porch when I’ve sat and watched many a storm. Have a great day!

  3. Storms remind me of my childhood growing up in Tampa. I remember sitting on the back porch with my Dad’s arm around me, watching bolts of lightning light up the sky and counting the seconds before the rolling thunder followed suit. He’d tell me the distance between us and the lightning is a mile for every second I counted.

    I’m 25 now and I still count the seconds between the bolts and the thunder. 🙂

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