I opened the windows of my apartment tonight for the first time in at least a month. Thunderstorms swept through the Philadelphia area last night, uprooting trees, downing power lines and ending the oppressive level of heat that had been sitting on top of the city.
While I was growing up, storms that involved thunder and lightening were fascinating to me. We didn’t have weather like that in either LA or Portland, and I found the drama and power of those storms to be unreal and unbelieveable. I remember one storm in particular. My mom, sister and I were standing behind the apartment building, saying goodbye to my grandparents and just about to get into a cab that was going to take us to the airport. The sky started to darken inperceptibly and miniature funnel clouds of dust gathered low on the street corners.
As the taxi sped down 76, precariously overfilled raindrops started to fall and my mom talked to the driver in voice that was louder than her normal, because she was afraid he was starting to fall asleep. We made it to the airport unscathed, but got nearly drenched carrying our bags from car to curb.
We checked in and gave them our bags, and began the interminable waiting process (my grandparents always insisted we leave the apartment multiple hours before a flight). The storm raged, and the flight was delayed, one hour and then two. Finally they announced it was cancelled. There was nothing to do but go back to the grandparents’, for an extra night. It was an unexpected joy to return again, to eat take out chinese with my grandfather’s Tic Tacs for dessert and get to wear his undershirts as pajamas (they didn’t give us our bags back).
I don’t remember the trip to the airport the next day, or the even the flight back to Los Angeles. But a good, powerful thunderstorm will always make me remember that night.