I thought it was a dog. Or a kid. It just blasted across the road, right to left. The car in front had to slam on its brakes to miss it.
Turns out, it was a big box moving at high velocity, powered by blustery winds. It reminded me of one of the things that I really miss about Oklahoma — thunderstorms.
Auckland is an isthmus, about 12 miles wide. So even when we have the “fixins” for a proper thunderstorm, it never happens. Maybe we get a few thunder claps. Some wee hailstones. Even a mini-tornado that cuts a three-foot swathe in Nowheresville before blowing out to sea. Woopie.
Absolutely nothing like Oklahoma thunderstorms. Those were mothers.
Good ones would turn the day into night by mid-afternoon. The clouds would get all mean looking. Grey. Then coal black. Dark, menacing green if there was major hail coming. But the cloud color wasn’t the deal for me. Thunder was my deal.
Craaak Craaak Craaak Craaak CraaakaCraaaak. KABOOOOOOOOOOOM… OOOOOOOOM… OOOOOOOOM!
And it would go on and on. For hours. Incredible light shows – multiple fingers of lightning going sideways. Hundreds of them. And then a thick, bright, savage bolt into the ground.
One, one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand… Every second that passed before you heard the boom represented a mile from where the lightning hit. Or so they said.
Strangely, I don’t think I ever saw lightning strike near me in Tornado Alley, Oklahoma. That happened in the Rockies.
The cut-throat trout were biting, so who cared about a little weather. Until I happened to look up exactly when lightning hit a big tree. The water inside vaporized, and the tree went off like a bomb. Impressive as all get out. And ‘get out’ was exactly what we did.
Maybe the thunder I’ve experienced was loudest in Singapore. It didn’t happen that much, but when it did, the way the noise bounced from highrise to highrise seemed to amplify it. Maybe it was louder than in Oklahoma.
But in Singapore, like here in Auckland, thunderstorms just never lasted. Pity.
When I was young, even though God and I were not on speaking terms, I did get it. That His power was immense. A single thunderstorm had more power than how many nukes? I used to know that. Serious power, showcased in thunderstorms that lasted for days in the Spring and Fall. Mother Nature’s version of shock and awe.
Man, I miss that.