Posted tagged ‘thunder’

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!”

February 14, 2014

The rain fell all day yesterday and last night. It stopped for a bit but only to gather a little more energy because it then began to pour again, to pound the roof, around midnight. After that came the highlight of the storm, the thunder and lightning. I was reading in bed when the whole room was lit by a flash of light then another flash then another. The thunder was a rumble at first which got louder and louder until it became a crash. I stopped reading to listen. Gracie slept right through it. It seemed to thunder for a long time then the rumbling began to fade until it disappeared. The rain fell more quietly having expended all its energy for that one giant blast.

Today was the big day, Valentine’s Day. I’d sit at the kitchen table the night before and in my best handwriting fill in my name on the back and the names of my classmates on the fronts of the envelopes. My mother always bought the valentines with a picture on the front, usually with a corny saying, and a place on the back for my name. Kathleen usually ended up slanted as it’s a long name. I also had to add an R. so everyone would know it wasn’t Kathleen D. or Kathleen L. Those precious valentines were carefully carried to school as were the cookies my mother had made for the party. The week before, during art, we had transformed shoe boxes into valentine boxes.

We had to do regular school work most of the day. It killed us. Our minds were on those envelopes sitting in boxes under our desks. I wondered who would give me valentines and feared not getting one from my secret crush of the week. In those days we didn’t give one to everybody in the class. I think it was more a matter of expense than thoughtlessness. Finally, after eons had passed, the nun would tell us to put our books away. She’d start to clear off her desk to make room for the party food. We’d pull our decorated boxes off the floor onto our desks and sit impatiently waiting for the festivities to start. The nun directed us row by row to walk around and hand out our valentines. We’d sit as classmates walked by and dropped envelopes or didn’t. We never opened them until all of us had taken our turns. It was then the party began. We’d get cookies and candy then sit at our desks and talk and open the valentines. We’d giggle at the ones from boys being young enough still to giggle without being silly. The party lasted until the final school bell when we’d reluctantly clean up and get ready to leave. The valentines went in our boxes and we carried those treasures home as it they were the crown jewels.

I’d sit at the kitchen table and look at those valentines then I’d keep them safe in the box for a long time so I could look again and again.

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

July 12, 2013

The day is actually in the 70′s, and there is a cooling north breeze, but it is still dark and cloudy with a bit of humidity when the breeze dies for a bit. This morning was my monthly breakfast with a fluctuating number of women whom I worked with for years and who are now all retired. Today there were ten of us. I have nothing else planned for the day. My friend is coming to take my trash to the dump, and I’m thinking of moving the laundry from the hall to the cellar with a simple toss down the stairs. The laundry is getting closer and closer to the washing machine every day.

My friend used to say that once July 4th is over so is the summer. I actually saw a back to school ad the other night. Now I’m waiting for a Halloween or Christmas ad. Summer Santa was on the cape yesterday doing a six month naughty or nice check. He was wearing summer Santa gear and Boston Red Sox socks. The paper showed a little girl on his lap who was mesmerized by being with Santa.

When I was little, I was filled with wonder and made new discoveries all the time. The world was still fresh and unfamiliar. I got older and the mysteries disappeared but not the wonder. I love to sit on my deck in the evening and watch the fireflies in the backyard flit among the trees like fairies taken to wing. The male gold finches are so bright and beautiful they take my breath away. I remember the hummingbird at my feeder. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. A starry night is another wonder, a night so bright you can read by the light from the heavens. The summer meteor showers in August are so amazing I say things like, “Wow,” out loud but never figure anyone hears me as all the other houses are usually dark. Thunder and lightning and a heavy rain are favorites of mine. I watch from the window and see the sides of the street flooded and filled with swirling rain. Sometimes the rain is light enough that I can sit outside under the umbrella and not get wet. The rain hits the umbrella and that is among the best of sounds.

Getting older doesn’t ever mean losing our sense of wonder. The beauties of the world are still here. We just have to remember to look.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

July 9, 2013

Today is dark with a gray sky. The humidity is high but not unbearable as there is a slight breeze, and a breeze is welcomed however small. The paper says rain with thunder and lightning. I am already looking to it. I love storms, and we do need the rain. This morning I have a doctor’s appointment for a wound check and yesterday the physical therapist signed off on me. That means I can now drive. I can be part of the world again.

All the windows and doors are opened, but I don’t hear anything, a random bird now and then but that’s all. I wonder where everyone is. This small street has kids, lots of kids: eight of them under seven years old, and I don’t even hear them. Not even a dog is barking which is also unusual. Maybe my invitation to wherever everyone has gone got lost in the mail.

It seems strange not to be traveling this summer. The last two summers I went back to Ghana, and if I had the money, I’d go again. I plan on austerity being my life style for the next year so I can save enough to go to Ghana again. Even after 40 years away, it seemed like home, and that connection is even greater after having been back a second time. Most interesting of all was meeting my former students many of whom are now retired and in their early 60′s. They refused to call me anything but madam or Ms. Ryan. I was and still am their teacher.

In the summer of 1969, I trained in Ghana to be a Peace Corps volunteer from June until early September. We had no phones, no televisions and no computers so we knew nothing of what was happening in the world. Letters from home were newsy but only about the family. One place where I stayed during training had a radio, and we listened to Voice of America and the moon landing. That was it for the entire summer. I, who used to read the paper every day, didn’t even care. None of us did. At night, we played cards and drank a few beers (I had coke-hate beer) at the local spots and the wide world never intruded. We didn’t even notice. All of us were too busy learning a new language and learning to live in a culture so different from our own.

Now I read two papers, am on my computer every day, carry my cell phone everywhere and watch news on TV. Sometimes I am very sorry I am so connected. The world at large intrudes on my life. Every bad thing that happens is blasted everywhere all the time, often the whole day on TV. I watch and am saddened by so much tragedy. Sometimes I long for that summer when I knew so little of what was happening in the world. I was blissful and ignorant.

“The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue”

June 29, 2013

I don’t think I have ever heard such thunder in my whole life. It roared overhead as if a jet were flying low to the ground and passing over my house. Gracie and I were both jolted from sleep, no waking up and stretching to the morning. We sat up and looked at the ceiling as if we could see the sound. When the thunder finally faded away, we both went back to sleep only to be jolted again by as loud a clap as the first. The ceiling gave us no hint this time either. Gracie and I admitted defeat and got out of bed. I showered. She laid down and waited.

Last night’s heavy rain left a damp, dark day, the same sort of day as yesterday’s when we never did see the sun though Fenway Park had sun for the Sox game last night. Maybe it was sun or just maybe it was the god of baseball shining on the home team.

My Peapod order is due sometime between now and 3 o’clock. I took the wide window to save a couple of dollars. That made me chuckle. I am not generally the save a few bucks sort of shopper. I never check weight against price or buy something simply because it’s on sale. I don’t know what prompted me to choose the crazy time, but I did feel a bit proud and certainly quite parsimonious.

I started going through the recipes I’ve torn or cut out from newspapers and magazines. I made several piles like appies, dessert, chicken, beef, pasta, foreign, potatoes, salads and on and on and on. My piles got out of hand, I ran out of space and I got bored. I decided to redo the piles so I went to appies, sides, meats and desserts. I got about a third of the way through my cuttings and decided I’d had enough. I put everything together in one pile and put it away. I’m just about back where I started. I don’t care because when I’m old and bed-ridden, this will give me something to do.

“When the sun shines wondrously in the morning, even the shadows in our mind start running away!”

May 30, 2013

Last night Gracie went out about 11 for her last visit to the yard before bed. When she came in, we went upstairs. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, light I thought, but I looked outside and saw nothing so I got comfy in bed to read. All of a sudden the loudest clap of thunder rattled the windows and went on forever. The rain came next, heavy rain, and then more thunder as loud and long as the first. I figured it was lightning I’d seen out of the corner of my eye, a warning of what was to come. I read for about an hour and then fell asleep to the sound of the rain. This morning I woke to sun and warmth. It is supposed to be around 83˚ today: too hot for May on Cape Cod.

It is just so quiet outside. The birds were singing earlier, but I don’t hear them anymore. A few leaves flutter on a branch but make no sound. I do hear Gracie snoring from her crate in the kitchen. It is often her spot for a morning nap. I don’t know where the cats are, but I know they’re sleeping somewhere. Today is my day to buy flowers for the deck and the front yard and vegetables and herbs for the side gardens. I’m going with red and white flowers for the deck, basil for the window boxes and cucumbers and tomatoes again for the garden. I’ll decide one more vegetable and a few more herbs when I roam at Agway. This is one of my favorite days though I usually end up going back at least one more time. I just can’t resist those flowers, and this year I have all those new pots to fill on the shelf I had built on the deck.

I’m leaving deck cleaning for tomorrow if my back cooperates or Saturday if it demands a day of rest which I suspect will happen given all the hauling from the car to the deck to the gardens. Tomorrow will probably be a recuperative day. No complaining here about sitting outside with a cold drink and a good book. I just started another Patterson, an Alex Cross, a perfect book for a summer’s day.

My laundry has been sitting by the cellar door for three days but hasn’t inspired me to do anything about it so it can sit a bit longer. As Scarlett was wont to say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

“Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.”

July 19, 2012

Late yesterday afternoon, the thunder and lightning were spectacular. I stood at the front door and watched. The house shook a couple of times and I could hear the rumbling all around me. The rain came down hard but didn’t last as long I’d hoped. What it did do, however, was even better. It took all the humidity with it and left us with a much cooler evening. I turned off the AC and opened all the windows and the two doors. It was easy to fall asleep.

This morning dawned cool and cloudy. Gracie is loving having the back door open as she has access to her dog door and can come and go as she pleases. She’s been outside all morning. I even joined her for a while. From the open windows, I can hear the world for the first time in days. Gone is the solitude. Some kid is screaming, and the renters next door are having a conversation. Dogs are barking, and I can hear the click of Gracie’s collar as she runs around the yard. She joins the chorus of barkers every now and then to let them know she’s here.

Yesterday I got a call from Texas, from a Ghanaian living there now who attended Women’s Training College in Bolga. She started there the year after I had left so we were never acquainted. Assan got my number when she went back to Bolga and thought she’d connect. It was a wonderful conversation. She knows many of my former students who were her seniors. She explained the reason she called was to apologize about missing the big reunion late this summer. I didn’t even know there was going to be one. It seems the students I met last year have been rallying the troops to come this summer to Bolga while I’ll be there. They’re hoping to have a huge party. I think it’s wonderful.

Grace called me from Ghana yesterday, and she sang Leaving on a Jet Plane, Miss Ryan’s song. She told me she was counting the days until my arrival and can hardly wait. She’ll come north with me and we’ll do a bit of touring as I hope to make a few stops in the Volta Region, places I have wanted to see like the Volta Lake, the dam and the monkey sanctuary. She’ll also stay with Francisca and me in the village.

My passport came back yesterday with my Ghanaian visa. I got one for multiple re-entries which is good for two years so this time so it won’t expire before I leave the way it did last year. The trip is more than a month away, but I am really getting excited to go. This time I know I’ll see my students and I’ll get to live in the village. Even better, we’ll party!

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

July 18, 2011

Right now the day is lovely, breezy and cool at 77°, but there is a thunder and lightning storm advisory for this afternoon and tonight with damaging winds expected. I’ll be lowering my umbrellas before the wind takes them, and they become extras for The Wizard of Oz. Summer storms are often mighty.

This is one of my what in the heck can I talk about days when my muses are taking care of their own business at my expense. Tonight I am meeting my nephew for dinner. We’re doing Mexican. I have a play on Wednesday, Sherlock Holmes, and that’s it for the week. I do need to go to the library as I am out of books, and that is dire.

When I was a kid, libraries were sanctuaries like churches. Whispering quietly was all that was allowed or is that aloud?  Shushing was what we often heard from the librarian who also believed that the gesture of a finger on her lips had to follow shushing. I never understood why the library had to be quiet. Reading a book so transfixed me that I never heard anything, even my mother yelling for me who swore I was ignoring her on purpose, and I certainly wouldn’t have heard anybody whispering in the library.

The quiet rule sometimes had the opposite effect. When one of us laughed, we all did, and we couldn’t stop despite the shushing and the warnings. We were actually asked to leave the library a couple of times when I was kid. We thought it was so hysterically funny to be tossed out we always left laughing, out loud. I’m sure it displeased the dour librarian wearing the flowered dress, sensible shoes and a bun in her hair. For years, I thought all librarians had to wear that uniform.

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”

July 14, 2011

All that heat and humidity of the last two days gave way to an amazing thunder and lightning storm last night. It was fantastic. I sat by the window so I wouldn’t miss the lightning. The rain poured for the longest time, and it was still raining when I went to bed. Today is amazing. It’s the sort of day I’d invent if I were Mother Nature. It’s 66° and breezy, but the sun is hot. Tonight is predicted to be in the high 50′s. Now, where did I put that blanket?

When I was young, I used to sing out loud. I didn’t know you were supposed to be on key. After I found out how horribly I sang, I didn’t sing out loud in front of anyone again. I still sing in the car, and I remember the 100 mile trip from Tamale to Bolgatanga on my new motorcycle, a Honda 90, when I sang out loud for almost the whole trip. I even sang Christmas carols as I remember the words to them best of all.

I am a terrible dancer. I have no rhythm. Even when I was young, I was a terrible dancer. It was only in the crush of the crowd on the dance floor that I would dance. It was my way of staying anonymous. But when I was young, I was an extraordinary skipper. I could even skip all the way to school if I wanted. I was also a wonderful hopper on either leg because I had a great sense of balance. We always walked on one railroad track to see who could go the longest without falling off. I usually won.

I could never get the hula hoop to stay on my hips. It would turn once or twice then fall to the floor. My friends could walk while still spinning that hoop. I was always a bit jealous. When I was  in Ghana, my mother sent me one of those wooden paddles with the red ball on an elastic. Many nights we went out back and had contests to see how long we could keep the ball going. I may not have had hip coordination, but I could that ball bouncing well into the three hundreds.

I was a good athlete and a darn good softball pitcher. I played basketball as well. That was in the days of half court girls’ games, and I played defense so I could never shoot the ball, and I was stuck in the backcourt. Back then you could only dribble a couple of times before you had to pass. I was the secret weapon strong enough to throw the ball down the whole court. I’d throw it to our lone, undefended offensive player waiting for the ball under the basket. She almost always scored.

I always think it a bit ironic that my blog posts music, but I still sing along quite loudly. It’s for the joy of  music.

“Grin like a dog and wander aimlessly.”

June 10, 2011

The thunder and lightning were tremendous last night. It was an amazing storm. My room lit up several times from the lightning, and the house was shaken by the thunder overhead. I loved every minute of it. Yesterday was ugly and hot. Today is cool and dry, a gift from the storm. The sunlight seems muted. It lacks the glare the heat brings. The next few days will be in the 70′s and the nights in the 50′s. I think that is perfect weather.

My passport came back yesterday with its Ghanaian visa. I’ve looked at that visa at least three times. The handwriting is typically Ghanaian: beautifully written with a flourish. I am now official!

When I was a kid, I dreamed of faraway places. My geography book was a wish book filled with pictures of where I dreamed I could be. I saw myself on Corcovado Mountain in Rio standing below the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer. I went up the Amazon, I wandered coffee plantations, and I saw the sphinx in Egypt, all in my imagination. No one I knew traveled just for the sake of traveling. Marty Barrett went to England to visit his grandmother, but that was the only place he went. Riding on an airplane was a part of my dream.

I once sneaked to Logan Airport with my uncle from my grandmother’s house. It was quite a long walk, miles, but I didn’t care. I stood on the observation deck of one of the old wooden Logan hangers and watched the planes coming and going. From displays I took brochures describing airlines and hotels. I wandered the airport watching people with their suitcases getting in lines to board planes. I was both wistful and jealous.

When I got back to my grandmother’s, my parents were livid, but I thought that a small price to pay for a great adventure. A few days later, I started reading the brochures, cut out pictures and began an album of my trip. I described the plane ride and flying in the clouds. Pictures of my hotel rooms had arrows pointing to my bed. All the wonderful sights we saw in the different cities were pasted on the pages and described by me in a first person account.

I filled the whole album with wishes and a dreams.

“Being frightened is an experience you can’t buy.”

October 22, 2010

The morning is cold, and the wind is brisk. The weatherman says the cold will be here for a couple of days. A blanket is permanently on my bed. The windows are kept closed. The deck is bleak, its furniture covered and everything else put away. I can see my neighbors’ houses again through bare branches. Around the house I wear my warm slippers and a sweatshirt. I’m quickly getting into winter mode.

Yesterday in the late afternoon we had a thunder shower. The rain came and went quickly. First it got really dark then came giant drops pelting the house and roof. Gracie raced inside and shook the rain off her fur. I sat in the dark for a while and listened to the thunder. It’s one of my favorite sounds. The storm was spent in about twenty minutes and the sun reappeared.

As a little kid, I loved feeling scared, surprised by the unexpected. It was different than being afraid because scared was fun. It was a haunted house display at Halloween when a creature jumped out waving its arms and screaming boo. We used to love to scare each other. We’d hide behind the house or a tree and jump out and yell. No one ever admitted to being scared, but we were. It always made us laugh afterwards, mostly in relief.

I remember being home when my parents went grocery shopping. If I heard strange noises, I’d stop and listen and sometimes get afraid. Once I even took to hiding under my bed. When I got older, after having seen too many horror movies, I found out it was the first place a murderous creature would look. The closet was a close second. Once I yelled at the noise. “Hello, anyone there?” I figured bravado would scare it away. My father answered. He was at the front door with the groceries, and I had heard him fumbling at the doorknob. He scared the heck out of me.


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