Monday, 24 June 2013

Monday Moanings - June 24, 2013

Summer time and the living is...

I have grown into a summer time whiner. I don't like the bugs; I don't like the heat; and I really don't like the humidity. I don't like having to keep the shades drawn all day to keep out the sun. I don't like freezing in an over air conditioned shop then being suffocated in the outside air. Whine, Whine, Whine.

But here's the good news: more than the flowers and veggies, which I do appreciate and enjoy especially if someone else tends them, I really like, love in fact, a good summer time thunderstorm, a ring tailed snorter. Nothing can beat that noisy, flashy, splash of refreshment. This 2013 premiere spell of 'triple H' weather (hazy, hot and humid) holds the promise of a few good thunder boomers and I'm primed and ready.

As a kid I loved the summer. Happy days of wind in my face bike riding, and hot days cooled in the backyard pool made summer an absolute delight. We didn't have a heater so a pool freshly filled in June began at 16C (or less!) and crawled its way to a blistering 23 by mid August. Those were the days of Fahrenheit, so "Arthur" our pool thermometer actually registered 74. One banner year I recall ''Arthur' made it all the way to 78F. In the early part of the season, while Dad was at work, Mom and I added buckets of hot water to the pool. Dad came home, splashed his hand in the pool and announced, "It's warming up nicely!" Mom and I just smiled. It was our little secret.

I had another summer secret. I hated thunderstorms; mostly they scared the living day lights out of me, especially the night time ones. They lit up my bedroom, casting scary shadows across the walls. Worse than the lightning was the thunder. Those ear splitting, room shaking, gut vibrating booms were worse than my worst nightmare. I recall lying in my dark bedroom, hands cupped close to my ears. A flash of lightning gave life to the shadows and I began a countdown, my small voice quavering in the dark, "One and one thousand, two and one thousand, three and one thousand, four and one thousand..." until the crash of thunder stopped the count. Each group of four in the countdown, that is every four seconds, between lightning seen and thunder heard measured one mile of distance to the storm centre, or so my Dad the weatherman said. As the number of seconds between flash and bang decreased, fear increased - exponentially. I never cried out - at least not that I remember. I took it to be a badge of courage to make it through the storm (there's got to be a morning after?). Instead I counted and shuddered, and counted and moaned, and counted and whimpered, drenched in sweat under blankets and pillow. The end of the world was at hand.

Small vestiges of  these terrors of the night remain. In the dark bedtime hours, a low rumble in the distance rouses me. A flash of light dances around the room, confirming the source - a thunderstorm is coming - and the familiar countdown sequence so deeply imprinted on my being begins again. My gut clenches involuntarily in memory of stormy nights past. Most often I just roll over and fall back to sleep but every once in a while the storm is big enough, flashy enough, noisy enough to fully waken the old fear machine. I tug the pillow tightly around my ears, stretch out my leg until toes touch a sleeping husband for reassurance that I am not alone. In the darkness a whimper is heard. Surely not I? Hot panting breath hits my not quite buried face, then a cold nose nudges my cheek followed by a heavy paw on my arm. "Just thought you should know mummy," eighty pounds of hyper-vigilant canine warns, "the end of the world truly is at hand."

1 comment:

  1. hehe...remember the countdown well....only, i felt 'snug-as-a-bug' in my bed and my heart DID pound post vibrating crack...but would smile as i knew it couldn't touch me... 1st para....i, too, am a major summer whiner...i relate my friend....hate feeling that sticky, head heavy feeling with deer flies spinning around my head and mozzies dancing out of reach!!...i truly did get the best BD present this year.....COOL, SUNNY JUNE...thanks mum and dad :)...sometimes i think yer in my head with yer LOVE EM!