The rain pitter patters on our aluminum skinned roof, lulling our minds into a limbo somewhere between waking and sleep. Droplets collect on our louvered windows, looking into them reveals reversed images of the misty forest and overcast sky. It’s monsoon season here in the American Southwest.
The days begin warm and clear, not a single cloud marring the turquoise sky. By mid day puffy cloudspile ever higher in the sky like whipped cream, their stark flat bottoms growing ever darker promising the coming storms. The Southwestern monsoon can be compared to the regularity of a Georgia Summer thunderstorm, with the ferocity of a Nor’easter.
The sound of distant thunder, like some kind of cloud-to-cloud artillery strike, is heard above and around with no distinct point of origin. Like the sound of war drums we know all to well what approaches. The smell of rain and ozone is thick enough to chew.
A rumble of thunder felt as much as heard signals the approach of the storm. The temperature instantaneously plummets along with the rain drops, the sky darkens to a sooty gray. Inside the camper the rain sounds like a drum line furiously pounding away on our roof-turned-snare, fat drops splatter on the dusty ground outside our windows. The thirsty earth drinks.
A bright flash freezes the raindrops in place like a strobe light, the long crack of thunder sounds as though the sky itself has ripped apart as the air around us trembles. Every five seconds it takes to hear the report after the flash is a mile.
The drumming on the roof is so loud we can not hear each other unless we yell. No longer is there a distinction between the pitter or patter, there is only white noise – a mis-tuned radio at max volume intermittently interrupted by white-hot flashes and earth-shaking explosive reports. Time is no longer measurable, the moment becomes our everything, an eternal static twilight.
Suddenly and at once the rain dies down to a gentle sprinkle, breaks in the clouds show either blue sky or twinkling stars, depending on how long it has been. A soothing scent of fresh rain blankets all – the very fragrance companies have been trying, and failing miserably, to copy for years.
The world around us feels anew, quenched. We breathe in deeply and smile.