Lightning and Thunder Storms

Thursday 8.12.10

For the past few months I have been receiving an average of four or five hours of rain per day. There is rarely a straight 24 hours where we don’t see any rain at all. Lately, this rain has come in the late afternoon and night-time and is usually accompanied by incredibly frequent and close lightning which makes for some really loud thunder. I like it. I like sitting in my bed reading listening to the rain and thunder outside. I also made a mix of songs I call “rain songs” that I like to play on full blast when it’s just pouring outside which features the artists, amongst others, Beethoven, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Mozart, Queen, and Simon & Garfunkel . It’s usually so loud I can barely even hear the music even I crank it up as much as my speakers will allow me. I especially like it when the thunder is so loud it nearly shakes the house; I can feel it in my whole body.

We get here a type of lighting that I never really saw in the US before – cloud to cloud lightning. It’s very frequent, often farther away, doesn’t touch the ground, and harder to spot bolts because it’s often filtered through a few clouds. The thing I like about this lightning though is that I can stand outside and look up at the sky and see 20-30 or more flashes in a minute. I also like when it rains really hard because it drowns out the Evangelical Church music, the neighbors’ music, and my host sister’s music. Sometimes, when I get lucky, even the power goes out and then even if it’s not raining really hard there’s no power at all for the speakers. Except mine. Mine are rechargeable and run on batteries so I can listen to my rain-music even when everybody else is cooking their dinner by candle light.

The first time the power went out when I was in the middle of cooking my dinner I was annoyed. Then I started to appreciated the serenity of the darkness, and after we lit a few candles the small kitchen actually became quite bright and beautiful; naturally lit, and still very calm. Now I’m not bothered at all by the power outages, I can even feel my way to the drawer with the candles with no problems. All in all, I like the rain. It took a while for me to get used to rain every day, never leaving the house without my umbrella (even if it’s sunny and hot and I’m sweating in a short-sleeved shirt, it is 90% likely that I will need the umbrella in a few short hours), and constantly having wet tennis shoes. Now one of my pastimes is guessing when the rain will come each day. Will it start at 2pm? 3pm? Wait until 5:30, the exact hour that I leave the office each afternoon? My goal for the next two years, or really next 1 year 7.5 months, is to become an expert at predicting when the rain will fall.

1 comment:

John B. Kim said...

I first arrived in El Salvador at an evening hour, just as a thunderstorm passed through the area. Waiting in line at immigration trying to make sense of the process, I could see outside where trees bending in the black night were momentarily illuminated by explosions of lightning. After customs, the double doors opened to the outside, where swarms of people stood in the humid night. I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling.

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