Lightning flashes, thunder rolls, and the guy bagging my groceries jokes about it being the end of the world (what with the hail and flooding to go along with the storm).
It’s always a surprise when the clear blue sky that winked and assured you on your way to the store has, once you enter and start to shop, abandoned you to the darkness of deep storm. What a bait and switch.
My main concern, as thunder sounds like canned goods on a conveyor belt and hail rattles the windows sounding like all the rice in the world dumped out of one gigantic bag, is making sure my daughter, who at fourteen is old enough to be left at home from this shopping trip, isn’t frightened by herself in the midst of all this mercurial melodrama. Having done that (no she is not frightened — she is actually thrilled with the beauty of the storm as it flashes across the sky light and the windows), I turn my thoughts to the task of running through the rain with plastic bags of groceries in hand.
It’s nothing really — the trouble of doing so — when you think that I do have food in these storm proof plastic bags and I have a car to run to and then a home to drive to after that. I sit in the car for a while, thinking of all the rain storms I have seen in my life (and being from Florida, I’ve seen more than my fair share) and thinking: what a gift it is to be able to see one again. Life is beautiful.
Flashlights and hurricane lamps are spectacles, necessary glasses in storm-prone Florida, if you will, that I have put aside. I left them behind in my move to Minnesota. Now, I long to pick them up once more and use them to read the storm in the way I was once accustomed to. There is something primal and satisfying in riding out a storm and getting by without electricity — with a cold meal and candlelight — seeing everyday things transformed through the lens of storm illumination.
Once I get home and hug my daughter, the day couldn’t get much better for me. We watch the sky with the lights out.