Friday, June 4, 2010


Not yet 5:00 and the light outdoors flickers with hint of an approaching storm. Indoors, shadows emerge from corners and hands reach out to switch on lamps. This is the first late afternoon downpour since arrival here last month and the stormy drama is a definite change of pace, something to look forward to. The rain comes hard and fast, putting a blur on everything. Not a good time for driving, and most of us prefer the safe comfort of home and a more protected view out through glass.

Inside it is silent but for the 
unwavering whisper of air conditioning, and then the rapidly increasing smack of rain hitting brick and palm settles into a soppy drumbeat made almost tactile in walls and windows. The fireworks of electrical booms erupt, and, especially here in Florida, you quickly look around to see that surge protectors are in place. Very soon the mix of rain, lightning and thunder is calling up a veritable hell of fury. The only presence unruffled by it all is the ocean, never altering its ceaseless roll of wave and surf. Ocean water grows darker but keeps its blue and green, while all the sharp lines muddle and become indistinct.

Behind the glass inside a lamp glows, shooing off the seeping darkness. Soon, the rain tapers off, thunder fades, and a bit more reluctantly the flashes of lightning move off somewhere behind the blanket of gray sky. Not much light to speak of at the finish, the outlook too sunless to rightly be called day.

The drama over, turning from the windows and wondering what to have for dinner, what book to read, what color ink to use…

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America