Yesterday I went to let the dogs outside, and it took me a minute to realize that I had felt a raindrop. Just a tiny one — spit from an overcast sky. But it hasn’t rained in so long, I hardly remember what it’s like. And it probably won’t rain, really rain, for several more months. Even though the weather here is darn near close to perfect, and I’m not complaining, it seems almost unnatural to live in a place with no rain in the summertime. Growing up in Kansas, summer was all about those dark, threatening thunderstorms that shook the house and lit up the night sky. It was all about rain that gushed and poured out of the sky and then disappeared and soon as it came.
In Iowa, rain was more of a constant in the summer. Yes, there were still thunderstorms, but just as often there was a kind of steady rain that kept everything green (kept those cornstalks growing higher) and raised the rivers enough to make us all nervous. There is something so romantic about being caught outside in a summer rain, and being cooled off by nature on a hot day. Then there’s that steam that hangs in the air after a rainstorm and that smell. God I miss that smell.
Thinking about thunderstorms makes me think about the night Mike and I first made a real connection. We were at a friend’s house party in late spring 2004, getting to know each other. We were all outside on the porch talking when the dark clouds started to roll in. The sky looked black and angry, and before long the tornado sirens went off. Of course none of us went inside. After the sun set, it just started to pour. Like rain so heavy it almost seemed fake. So what did we do? Ran in the street of course! Laughing and getting soaking wet.
I’ll always remember that night, too, because my friend Jennie was in town from Colorado, and we got to talking about how much she liked it there and how much I wanted to check it out myself. I had no way of knowing that that would be the night I started falling in love with my husband, or plotting a change in my career, or starting to figure out who I really was. I like to think that thunderstorm was Mother Nature smacking me in the face and saying, “your whole life is about to change!” And our response was to step off the porch and run in the rain.