I'm not referring to the mere "I wish it was summer" when the thermometer is reading -3 degrees Fahrenheit. I mean the specific, memory-inducing type of weather that really only happens in a specific season. Things like the smell of leaves in autumn or the hollowed stillness of falling snow.
As I sit here, listening to the soft pings of freezing rain, I can't help but wrinkle my nose at the thought of the smell that will greet me tomorrow. Road salt mixed with sand, snow and dirt. Because of this unsavory anticipation, I find myself missing thunderstorms.
Nothing that would bring about high winds or property damage - just the warm humidity charged with the excitement that leads into the great rumbling claps of thunder and the delightful relief of pouring rain.
It goes hand-in-hand with thunderstorms and I miss that too.
Part of what really started me pining for a good thunderstorm is a track that I have on my iTunes. It's part of a biolateral CD that I got to help with anxiety. It plays sounds from one speaker to the other (you have to listen to it with headphones) and it helps synchronize the hemispheres of your brain. It's wonderful to sit with headphones in and bask in the sounds of rain, painted with the accents of thunder. It's only a 10 minute track, but it really helps with anxiety. The thunderstorm track is my favorite one - to me it's the sound of summertime.
I have a lot of thunderstorm memories. My fondest ones being from my time at Girl Scout Camp Tanglefoot -- both as a camper and from when I was on staff.
- Laying in my tent before the 7am bell, listening to the sound of rain falling through the woods.
- The warmth of my sleeping bag against the cool air as I feel the rumble of thunder through the bed frame.
- Getting dressed, preparing for a day where everything is slightly damp and full of crafts, "Sweatin' to the Oldies" and storytelling.
- Discovering that there's hot chocolate to drink with breakfast and singing "I Hear Thunder" and "Singin' in the Rain" with my campers and fellow staff.
Trying to fall asleep at night was a challenge. Despite being utterly exhausted from the energy required throughout the day, I remember laying there just sweating, moving the side of the canvas tent hoping for two things: to catch an errant breeze and that no Daddy Long Legs would fall on me. It was even too hot for the crickets to chirp - which is one of the best types of camping white noises to listen to as you fall asleep.
Finally, we could feel the humidity building and we heard that a storm was on its way. Waking up to the sound of rain was a very welcome experience and the roll of thunder was an added bonus.
That night it was a blessing to lay down in bed. The air was cool and there was a breeze. The sound of the wind through the wet leaves was comforting and a nice compliment to the other pleasant addition to the sounds of the night.
It had been so dry that the marsh had been reduced to patches of gooey, smelly mud and deteriorating plant matter. It had rained so much through the previous night and throughout the day that the marsh was once again full of water. The frogs who had been silenced by the lack of rain, were now back and chirping in full chorus.
It was one of those moments where you realize what you had been missing all those nights while trying to fall asleep. It wasn't just the heat, the lack of a breeze or the absence of chirping crickets that was keeping you up. It was the silence from the marsh. After it rained, the song of the frogs combined with the rustle of leaves and the chirping of crickets created some of the best sleeping conditions you could find at camp.
I know I speak for more than just myself when I say that the sleep I got that night was some of the best I had experienced that summer at camp: restful and sweet.
I love being outside and watching the thunderclouds roll in. The thick feeling in the air as the humidity builds -- that moment where it feels like you could prick the air with a pin and let the moisture escape. It's like the music you hear in a movie before something startles you.
I love the way the clouds tower over the horizon as they roll in and if you watch closely enough, you can see them boil and change. As their flat underbellies darken, the storm clouds move forward and overtake the sun. The ribbons of water streaming down as it begins to rain in the distance...
I miss a good thunderstorm.
"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby." -Langston Hughes