This morning something very exciting occurred here in Nanaimo: there was a real mccoy, honest-to-goodness thunder storm forecast for today! Oh, the titillation that snaked through the room at the thought that here, today, we just might hear a thunderclap in the distance!
It never storms here, and when I say never, I mean ne-verrrrr. There has been one time, hiking in the middle of nowhere in Strathcona last summer, that I was certain I heard upon the wind thunder’s low grumble on the other side of a mountain. I even saw peaky white clouds in the distance, but alas, to the occasion no storm did rise.
I miss thunder storms.
To me, the ideas of thunder and lightning and summer are all intermingled – summer-season in Southern Alberta means storm-season, and there is no storm like the gales the prairies can whip up. If you have never spent a hot night in July sitting on your back deck, no tree or hill obscuring your vision, watching a storm – a churning-clouded, green-tinged tempest, hurling out bolts of full cloud-to-ground lightning; howling out window-shaking peals of thunder – roll in, and you finally are forced inside by whipping winds and pelting rain – if you haven’t watched a storm like this, then my friend, you haven’t seen a storm.
The thing about a storm is, with it, change is brought. It shakes things up, keep us from getting too comfortable. Sometimes the earth is left refreshed, rejuvenated, awakened. Dry earth welcomes the rain and closes up cracks. Plants perk up; sagging stems and leaves are green once more. The air is an invigorating cool, and that smell! On the other hand, storms can leave a path of devastation in their wake. Winds can litter the ground with whole limbs from trees. Hail can batter crops, wreak havoc on homes, and shatter windows. And I remember more than one tense evening as a child, hunkering down in the basement, for fear of a tornado destroying our home.
The change is inevitable. You can feel it in the air before the first flash of lightning appears on the horizon.
A leaf may stir after a day of stifling stillness.
The birds’ songs, so a part of a summer day we seldom pay them mind, are suddenly,conspicuously silent.
The sky darkens, the wind picks up, the heat of the day is gone, and ready or not, there you are in the middle of it: the storm; change.
I do love storms. I love the intenseness, the power, and the way they make me feel so small and awed, but it can be disconcerting not knowing if I’m going to be left refreshed or ravaged.
In a few short weeks, I’m moving home to Alberta after almost two years of living on the Island. This is sort of the foremost of several big changes taking place in my life in the next little while. And I am excited – to be near family, to be a part of our church there again, to reconnect with dear friends. But a healthy does of trepidation goes along with that excitement. What about friends we’ve made here? I’m leaving an awesome job at a great school. And let’s be honest, isn’t going from the bountifulness of Vancouver Island back to the…well…relative barrenness of Southeastern Alberta kind of a trade down? What if the whole “grass is greener on the other side” thing happens?
I guess change is good. It’s inevitable. It shakes us up, keeps us from getting too comfortable. And I’m more or less prepared for the upheaval.
I’m just a little disconcerted, is all, not fully knowing if, in the end, I’m going to be left refreshed or ravaged.