Summer in the American southeast! The snowbirds have gone home and I don’t have to arrive at church half an hour early to get a seat. I don’t have to plan on eating dinner at 4:00pm in order to avoid waiting in a restaurant for several hours.
On the other hand, the summer weather has hit. The temperature and the humidity are the same number on an almost daily basis. And that number starts with a “9.” As Max says, we live in God’s hot tub. You don’t so much breathe the air as drink it. They say ladies don’t sweat. Horses sweat. Men perspire. Ladies glow. If that is so, I believe I glow brightly enough to be seen from space.
We eat dinner to the dulcet tones of the weather alarm radio, squawking dire warnings at us about the damage that can be done by winds over 50 miles per hour. I wondered if there would be lightning bugs in this area. I haven’t seen any lightning bugs, but I have certainly seen lightning. In fact, the thunder and lightning regularly convince me that someone finally invented the Way-Back Machine and we’ve landed in World War I France.
As someone who grew up in a place where we barely knew what rain was, it is interesting to live in a place where rain- in fact an abundance of rain- is just the way things are. No one seems to have an ark in the driveway, but it certainly feels like one will be necessary at any time. The thing about this state is that it CAN rain any time and, sometimes, it does.
Now that the summer is here, those “sometimes” are much more frequent. We have a thunderstorm or two in our general vicinity almost every day. They last from five minutes to an hour or so. The other day, I went out to get my nails done. As I left the nail shop, I got caught in a cloudburst. In the time it took me to get to the car, I was so soaked that the dye from my blue suede shoes had steeped into my feet. Not only did this deluge ruin my shoes, I looked like a smurf from the ankles down for the next two days. I remember the first time I was out when I actually felt unsafe driving because of the weather. I would have pulled over, except I couldn’t see anything in any direction. I felt it was only slightly less likely I would run into something directly ahead of me than that I would run into something if I moved to the side. When it isn’t actually raining, I often think of the weather as “oozing.” The air can’t hold all the moisture and dampness seems to be literally seeping from the atmosphere.
Where I came from, people called in absent from work at the first sign of a raindrop. Here, people do arduous outdoor work, soaked in rain and sweat. If they stopped for weather, nothing would ever get done. When there is lightning, the workers cover what they are doing, sit in their vehicles for a while, and are back at it immediately as soon as the sky is quiet again. Supermarkets keep a supply of loaner umbrellas so people won’t get wet if a shower starts while they are in the store. I believe the region’s economy would come to a standstill if rain stopped anyone from buying groceries at any time.
When it rains, people don disposable ponchos and continue whatever recreational activity they are doing. They consider it an imposition to get out of the pool or off a lake, despite the desperate warnings of that weather alarm radio screeching about lightning strikes. Here are some famous potentially last words I heard at the pool earlier this week- “That isn’t really thunder. It isn’t loud enough.” I was listening to the news one day and the weather guy cautioned that there was going to be thunderstorms on the Fourth of July. He went on to inform us that the rain might be over by fireworks time, so people should go ahead with their plans and just bring an umbrella. Great…. A bunch of people sitting in a central Florida storm holding their own personal lightning rods. Fireworks might not be the only thing lighting up those displays.
We are in “hurricane season” (not the most comforting of monikers, admittedly). We live pretty far from any coast, so actual hurricanes are rather rare in our community. However, whether you call it a hurricane, tropical storm, thunder warning, or just precipitation, it is more rain than I’ve seen in forever.
I have to admit the thunder is a bit unnerving. It can actually rattle our very solid little house, even without a hurricane. I remember parents telling frightened children that the thunder and lightning were “just the angels having a party up in heaven.”
I beg to differ.
Those angels are pissed off.
What do you think? Is summer where you live a nightly light show? Or do you have other impressions of the seasons? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day. Stay dry!