Friday Flashbacks: Deluge

By Mir
July 8, 2005

The attacks on London yesterday–combined with several days in a row of grey, rainy days–have left me melancholy. I had a post for yesterday, yes. What do you say that can matter on a day when so many people are senselessly injured or killed? The only answer I could come up with was: Nothing.

I’m praying for healing, and peace. The end.

Today I’m no more profound, but I’m trying to shake my inclination to be caught up in my own fears and worries. So I’ll resume my “normal” routine as best I can. That includes a Friday trip in the way-back machine; but when I close my eyes today, all I can focus on is the rain. The world keeps turning and the rain keeps falling.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Join me in today’s stormy mood, if you like.

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again some other day.

* When I was a small child, I was terrified of thunderstorms. My brother was older and–so far as I could tell–fearless, and loved watching the lightning through the sliding glass deck door. At first I feigned interest (and bravery) so that I could be like him. Eventually, I saw what he saw, and forgot fear in favor of fascination.

* For many years I went away to camp in the summer, living for a month in one of a village of small cabins on a lake. When it rained lightly, regular activities (other than swimming or waterfront) continued as usual. When the skies really opened up, everything was cancelled, and we retreated to our cabins to wait out the storm. In the absence of thunder and lightning, we girls often ran out and washed our hair in the rain, or had shaving cream fights. When lightning crashed all around us, we huddled in our cabins and played jacks or Uno or did Madlibs and tormented the girls who shrieked at the thunder.

* I have already written about a magical first kiss that I received in the rain. It makes me feel old to realize how long ago that was.

* After years of living in the very moderate climate of northern California, I’d come to believe there was no such thing as violent weather, there. The complete absence of thunderstorms was (to me) unnerving. One day as I headed home from work, it was raining, as it often does in the winter. I was on a major highway and scoffing at the timid, native drivers who slowed down for a few puddles. In the space of five seconds I drove from moderate rain into a driving torrent of rain and hail that was so loud it hurt my ears. It also cut the visibility down to, well, zero. I was going maybe 20 mph but I couldn’t see ANYTHING and was utterly panicked; at any moment either I would hit another car, or someone would plow into me. I was sure of it. I wanted to pull over but I COULDN’T SEE where it might be safe to do so. As I tried to decide what to do (still creeping along), suddenly I exited the storm as quickly as I’d entered. I was unscathed. There was a record number of accidents on the highway that hour. I shook all the way home, and burst into tears when I later read about the various pile-ups the freak squall had caused.

* The first house my husband and I bought had a partially finished basement. Our family room was down there. One of the first things we did was replace the carpet. Less than a year later, we stood ankle-deep in a small stream as water poured through the wall at the end of a particularly rainy month. What seemed like a huge catastrophe at the time came to later be regarded as something humorous.

* This house has a leaky bulkhead, but an unfinished basement. I’ve tried various fixes to keep the water out and still each storm leaves a damp semi-circle by the bulkhead door. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Sure, I’d rather it didn’t happen. But you can’t stop the rain.


  1. Wendy

    I’ve just discovered your blog – props to yahoo picks! The attacks in London suck, terrorists suck. Blogging however, doesn’t suck. I wanted you to know that I think we are living parallel lives on opposite coasts – divorced, 2 kids, kids away with the ex, mild insanity, amazing friends…I look forward to your writing, it makes me think “I woulda, coulda, shoulda…”

  2. aderyn

    I used to be afraid of thunderstorms, too, and now I sit outside and watch the lightning. We have a leaky basement, too, only the water comes out of a seemingly random hole in the middle of the floor.

  3. DebR

    I was terrified of thunderstorms as a small child because I thought the thunder sounds was coming from a big, green, ANGRY floating head like the wizard effect in the Wizard of Oz movie.

    Once I figured out that there was no disembodied head up there in the sky yelling at me, I became fascinated by thunderstorms. I still like to watch them.

  4. Amy

    Last week my two oldest boys and I were caught in a thunderstorm on the beach…we had walked a looooong way from the house we were staying in and had to make a run for it…when we were still quite a ways from making it home, we spotted my dad running toward us…the boys were scared and bolted for grampa, who scooped them up and ran for home…I slowed down and just watched the storm move out over the water…WOW.

  5. Bob

    I love bad weather. I find the force nature brings to bear totally awesome. Since I can remember strong weather has had a hold on my imagination. Since I was a kid one of my favorite things is listening to rain on a tin roof – my grandfather’s barn had a tin roof, I would run for the barn when the rain started, climb into the hayloft. There was a brief period when we lived in a mobile home and it had a tin roof. I would also go out onto the porch and feel the wind and rain being driven almost through me. Several years ago we went to the beach. we got there just as a huge storm was coming in off of the gulf. You had to lean into the wind in order to stand up. The waves were at least 10 feet tall crashing onto the shore. My daughter had been complaining all the way there, but seeing the gulf in such a state her attitude did a 180 and she ran out onto the beach. We still talk about that as one of our best vacations.

  6. Jenny

    When I was little, we lived in an old house with an unfinished basement. It would always flood in a good rain, so there would be at least a couple of feet of water running from one side to the other. We also had a coal furnace, and the huge pile of coal, which meant that the water in the basement would always turn black. I would sit on the basement steps, and watch the swirling black water and was fascinated. I love to watch storms, as long as I am in the house! I remember running out with my brother to see how many hailstones we could fill a bucket with quick before they melted!

  7. darkling

    I’ve lived in Northern California for decades. This is one of the best places for huge storms. As a child in the Sierra Foothills, our power regularly went out from storms. We would sit and watch the lightning play over the hills and count the thunder.In the valley around Sacramento schools would close because of the downpours. We had rain days instead of snow days.Now that I live east of San Francisco, just across the Bay, I see some spectacular storms, especially when crossing the bridges over the Bay. The most incredible light shows.My sons are very relaxed about storms as my husband and I almost revel in them. We’ve both been known to stand in the rain and watch the sky show.

  8. debby

    I am with you in your melancholy mood…I think it abounds here in the Northeast. I enjoyed reading about your memories though, kinds took me back to my early princess-hood, thanks!

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