I was asleep in bed, embraced by a thick duvet and too many pillows when I heard it—the familiar sound of the storm siren. Distant but powerful. It’s strange, but I find this sound comforting. I like the dissonant drone, like a chord that never rounds out. I imagine the sound spreading out over my little suburban world like a fast moving gas, into every nook and cranny. Down streets, up driveways, through cracked windows.
I love this sound because means a storm is coming. A big one. Soon to follow are low rumbles that make me squeeze my blankets to my chin and grin. It’s book reading time. It’s flashlight under the covers time. It’s hot tea time. It’s time to close my eyes and listen in anticipation for the first fat drop to hit the window.
I lay in my bed and watch the sky darken fast, like a blossoming smoke. My room grows dim. I close my eyes and count “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi,” in between thunder growls to gauge the lightenings distance.
The blinds clatter violently and my eyes shoot open. My door opens flies open. The pressure change in the room and in the walls has awakened my house. It’s eerie, but expected.
I get up, go to the open window and I’m hit in the face with a sigh of the rainstorm’s breath, heavy and wet and metallic. This smell lasts so briefly, overtaken by the rain itself.
The open doors in the rest of the house are swinging now. I can hear them. The storm is calling ahead, warning of its arrival.
And as I stand there I hear it—the first fat, wet drop. A SPLAT more than a pit or a pat. Almost instantly followed by another. And after that I can’t keep counting because it’s all here. The whole storm is here. It pours down and sounds like the ocean, one big long unrelenting roar, rising and falling only to take a breath and throw itself at the window again. Every now and then it gives me everything it’s got and reaches under the awning to sputter through the window screen and onto the sill my elbows are resting on.