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The lightning struck just behind the building we were next to as we drove to the grocery store. You could hear the crack and there was just enough time to consciously flinch, waiting for the impact. Then the thunder roared through the air, rattling the car, a force of motion and sound.

The clouds had been a deep gray-blue as we walked out to go to Nonna’s house. While we were in the cantina of the building, it started. The smell of rain puddled through the cellar windows and soon, the rumbles above us made it feel like we were in a bomb shelter.

I love storms. I have my mother to thank for that. She’d pull us up to the windows of the house to battle the rains, and in the car, as we’d chase the storms, her face would light up with excitement as the strikes got closer and closer and the thunder louder. She taught us to count out the seconds between the light and the roar so we’d know how far away it was. I was taught the force of the winds and the rain and the light and the noise were something to embrace, to be excited about. There was no fear of the storm.

I remember the summer storm when we were all sitting at Jean’s and the lightning hit the sewer cap outside on the street. The boom fell as the world around us lit up white and hot. Sparks flew and the window glass rattled. The car alarms wailed and the smoke detectors screamed. My Dad ran out to see if the ground was hot – only after recovering from sprinting in fear to the other side of the house.

There’s a story of a storm I don’t remember but can tell as I do. Up in Danbury, the thunder would roll and echo over the mountains. My father and Dud, our grandfather, stood out in the newly-build three-season porch off the back of the farm. watching the rain pour down over the backyard surrounded by a rock wall and tall pines. The lightning shot through the trees, targeting the metal well in the backyard instead. My Dad would tell the story as he giggled, saying he’d never seen Dud move so fast in his entire life.

In Maine on Long Lake, you see the dark clouds over the mountains down the cove first, then the far side of the lake starts to ripple and the wind picks up. Once during a family reunion, it came too fast. The winds were too high and a beautiful sunny day turned into a hurricane. The waves grew from the middle of the narrow cove and soon the docks were flooded and boats frantically tried to maneuver off the water. The thunder moves in waves over the lake and surges into the cove with a force that pummels itself into the coastline. If the winds aren’t high and the lightning strikes close, you can hear the crack of the tree splintering as it’s struck down.

During one afternoon storm, I finally caught a strike above the backyard of our condo with the fancy new little MP3 player I had. I had dreams of being a nature photographer and was so excited to be able to save a picture of a storm I shot myself. I probably still have that picture on an old hard-drive somewhere – blocky and pixelated, my phone can do better today. 🙂

During my high school graduation party, the storm came fast and hard with a downpour that left everyone soaked and huddled in the house. Sadie my Lab, never afraid of the thunder before, started to get nervous with all of the people around. Then it hit just like years before, striking the street. My grandmother screamed, and Sadie high-tailed it into the basement, where she’d go anytime she heard a rumble after that for years, until she was too deaf to care anymore.

Thankfully, Luna seemed unfazed today as she sat in the backseat, even as we jumped at the sound. Thank goodness – I’m not ready to have a 20lb shivering ball of fear in a city full of loud noises. Today will still be up there in my lightning strikes, though. The weather around here has been a bit crazy lately and if this is predicting what summer is going to bring, I feel like I may have a few more to add to the list by fall.