Asked and Answered
It’s a hot summer afternoon and the late day sun is baking the concrete and the asphalt and the children in the backyard.
Even the grass is hot under bare feet as the mercury climbs over one hundred degrees and the town swelters.
From somewhere over the Sandias, a mass of clouds, not there ten minutes ago, begins to move and swirl and pick up momentum.
Blackening like a fresh bruise, the clouds grow darker and more imposing right in front of your eyes.
Before moisture is wrung loose, the clouds must announce their presence with all the showmanship of a meteorological Liberace.
Gaudy lightening forks across the sky, splitting into tongues, lapping out for opposite minded currents.
One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four….
An Earth shattering crack shakes the house on its frame and the thunder sounds like the hand of God is ripping the sky asunder.
The cloud’s fireworks rage on, putting on a dry show while pent up demand for the rain grows stronger.
We’re all waiting in anticipation for what Mother Nature has to offer. In the desert, her moisture offerings don’t always make it all the way to the ground before evaporating.
The maddening effect of 7% humidity.
The wailing wind rushes through the streets lifting corners of shingles and twirling tree tops like green haired Troll dolls and rattling every window.
Howling in its intensity, the wind takes patio tables and trash cans and everything not nailed down and turns it on end. Over end. Over end.
Dogs stop howling and begin whimpering, begging to come in.
Children who were brave enough to face the lightening and thunder now race inside as pea sized hailstones on the force of the wind are pile driven into sun burnt skin.
“Ow!” they shout and race for cover.
After the showy display of hard frozen pebbles, the storm is ready to give up its cargo.
Rain, big heavy drops begin falling. No, not lightly first and then harder. Nuance won’t do.
The skies open up and the angels pour buckets out of the clouds and oh holy sh*t is the rain pouring down.
For ten minutes the world is coming apart and you hope the roof holds the walls hold the windows hold and “oh please don’t let that be a tornado.”
And then as quickly as it started, it’s done. The boiling clouds move on, intent on playing out their performance in another town another state another day.
The skies turn blue and the sun picks up where it left off, blazing down on the world below. Quickly, the wet ground starts to warm up.
Ozone lingers in the air and the drying rain gives off a smell of wet, hot concrete and moist earth.
The odor is fresh, clean, pure, natural.
Once frightened children begin to creep outside to play in the last hours of the daylight savings time white hot summer sun that soon enough gives over to pinks and oranges. Stars begin to peek through the sky….
And all of this is meant to answer the one simple question:
“For me, the smell of childhood is…”
Image found over at kirstenkoza.com. Visit her site, she’s got some amazing storm photographs.
Apologies to defenders of good grammar. After spending all day writing under someone else’s rules and word count restrictions, a rule breaking stream of consciousness felt *really* good.