On noticing a sudden summer thunderstorm, late

From an artists studio window in Gowanus

Right now, after a very high heat index day (that’s how we talk about hot, humid days now), there’s a thunderstorm happening outside in the dark.

I missed the first hour of it. When I arrived home I took the day’s second shower, and then dinner. The air conditioning has been on, and music distractions. So I’ve had only the barest awareness of this summer storm.

But the record just ended, and I let it end (though it’s not even really a record, but a stream, a subscription, which is how we talk about music now).

I let it end and the thunder sounds big and powerful, like the things we used to know from stories.

I love the things we used to know from stories, and I want to bring them back. Stories are the reason we ever made it this far— as individuals, and as a species. Stories are powerful, like thunder and lightning.

(A summer storm sounds like the world existing, as it does, with or without us.)

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53 thoughts on “On noticing a sudden summer thunderstorm, late

  1. And stories, like thunder and lightning, speak the unspoken language of our hearts. Sometimes they say things we would struggle to put into words, important, life-changing things that are felt long before they’re understood.

    I say this after sitting on a porch yesterday evening here in Costa Rica, as a lightning storm rumbled through, lashing the trees with rain and making the hills flicker with ghostly light. I watched for a while, my thoughts untethered, and my mind went to places it hasn’t visited in years. I’m not sure what it did there, but I hope it’ll give me the CliffsNotes version of it sometimes soon.

  2. Mike, that sounds lovely; porch-sitting during a storm is always a somewhat transporting experience. I hope you learn more about your mind’s travels— maybe some postcards will arrive here and there, as they do when scraps of a dream return later on. Thanks for reading.

    1. Honestly, since the storm has been ravaging poor Houston, it feels like odd timing for this particular post to have been featured on WP, but I appreciate it!

      Yet, there is something magical about a sudden (brief) thunderstorm. Thanks for reading, and for your comment.

  3. That was a fantastic piece. Thank you. 🙂 I am in love with the last sentence enclosed within parenthesis – (A summer storm sounds like the world existing, as it does, with or without us). I ask you permission to take it with me and share it around! That awesome thing!

  4. Stories are essential to preserve and propagate values and culture. They can change and shape your thinking so unobtrusively. That is why when I had something to say, I have started saying through my stories. But it takes so long to say it nicely. Never mind….I will continue doing so, no matter how much time and effort it takes. Because the pen is mightier than the sword!

      1. Hello! I read Faces in the Mist so far. It is very moving, and makes me want to call my own parents. I love the line about his wife “is a law unto herself.”

        His imagined stories of the people he sees on his wanders is a beautiful segue to his relationship with his son.

  5. This reminded me of the lines from GRAPES OF WRATH: “And the people listened, and their faces were quiet with listening. The story tellers, gathering attention into their tales, spoke in great rhythms, spoke in great words because their tales were great, and the listeners became great through them.”

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