17 May 2006


Is there anything more delightful than a thunderstorm at the end of a blistering hot day?

Well, yes. Brownies served with scoops of ice cream come to mind. So do indictments of key players in the Plame case over in that hotbed of honest, upright gov’mint, Washington, DC. And of course, impeachment proceedings brought against Codpiece would give me a nice frisson of pleasure.

But I digress. As I sit here writing, there’s a lovely mountain thunderstorm going on, complete with boomy rumbumbumbles, lightning and the sweet crackle of rain on the leaves. A small wind is blowing through the open window, smelling of ozone, damp pavement and green.

It was in the 90s down in the valley today. I discovered the air conditioning in my old car wasn’t blowing cold anymore the first really warm day of the spring, a couple of weeks ago. Now I drive 4/70 – four windows down, 70 mph but I’m still melting in the heat and the scorching California sun.

So a little thunderbumper is welcome. This is why I live in the mountains – you can bet they’re not enjoying this break from the heat down-mountain. I invite it to keep right on, go all night. Rain and rain, wet down the drying grasses and stave off the wildfire season for another few weeks.

Of course, lightning can be dangerous, even as early in the season as it is. It took only a week to dry out the lush grasses covering the hillsides. They went from green to pale, biscuit gold almost before my eyes. For now, though, I think we’re OK. It’s raining.

The thing that’s nicest, in my humble opinion, about late spring, early evening thunderstorms is that even as the fat raindrops plop all around and the thunder booms in the distance, the birds continue on about their business unbothered. The feeders outside the kitchen window are busy with goldfinches and house finches, jockeying for position; the Stellar’s jays are yelling from the tall firs, the wrens are singing and so are the robins.

And the air is soft and cool, like a damp washcloth laid gently on a feverish forehead.

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