Vacation, Week Two

There were two straight days of rain.  The first day felt cozy and lazy.  The second day was frustrating.  Looking at a grim forecast, we felt robbed of our sunscreen-slick skin, our dry, sticky hair, our ice cream on the bench above the beach, our late afternoon grapefruit margaritas by the pool.  The children became restless, squabbly, cranky.  We scrapped our plans to grill spare ribs, contemplated the stove.  Our summertime vibe, man, was at stake.  So. Not. Cool.

Puzzles, Candy Land, Netflix.  A fire in the fireplace (in August!).  Cookies in the oven.  A long drive, just to get out.  Dinner at the local pub (twice).

And then it broke, sort of: a coolish day with sunshine which beckoned us outside again, squishing across the beach, marshy from low lake levels.  Check the crawdad traps, shiver through a swim.  As evening encroached, I hauled the couch cushions out to the deck while my husband administered the bedtime backrubs.  I sipped a martini and read in the fading light, wrapped in a heavy sweater.

After dark, the storm advanced again.

In the city, with its controlled landscapes and storm drains, one can forget that Nature is far, far mightier than we give her credit for.  It is good to be reminded.

Storms in the mountains are a different beast entirely.  Heat, moisture, altitude.  Acres of woodland, parched and endangered as the lightning crackles.  With views for miles, it’s easy to see a single weather system drench one area yet bypass another completely.

A single cloud gathered over the lake, gaining size as it migrated across the sky, south to north.  Intermittent lightning blasts ignited the mass of air from within: a flashing, slow-moving UFO menacing the shores and daring anyone to go near the black water.

Up on our deck, my husband and I stood mesmerized and silent beneath all this furious glory: the threat of electricity, the promise of rain so long overdue.  Death and life.  Somewhere in town, the locals rejoiced at the possibility of a better winter, of lake and river levels rising, of tourism fueled by precipitation.  Somewhere below our feet, our children slept, deaf to the thunder.  We stood and watched and waited, wondering when it would reach us and drive us inside.

The morning brought the warm, humid weather again.  The summer vacation pattern recommenced almost as if it had never been interrupted, though we continued to watch the sky.

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