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Cloudy skies are welcomed

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POSTED September 16, 2009 12:08 a.m.
Mom told me her sleep was ruined the other night by the splashing of salmon in the bay in front of the
house.

Seems the fish were stirred by the full moon and were either leaving the water due to an electric neurological response caused by the moon being complete, or simply trying in vain to get a bite of that huge orb of celestial cheese.

I had a similar supernatural pull Saturday, though it involved no leaping.

I awoke thinking my neighbor was testing something new on his almond trees. To my pleasure it really was thunder. Outside, the early morning earth was cool and damp, washed by the delicacy of a morning sprinkle.  

There was the lingering possibility this could continue, complete with the violence of thunder, so I left the confines of my room to be a part of it.

The thick dark clouds, outlined by puffy white and a little blue reminded me of my grandparents’ house on the front range of Colorado.

Every afternoon, it seemed, we would get a reprieve from the heat in the form of rain that, to a 9-year-old, seemed almost biblical.  I would take my Matchbox cars out into the gutter where sand and dirt from up the street would be deposited as the road flattened and make feeble attempts to staunch the flow with dams.

Nineteen years later, that still sounded a little fun.

I logged 4.5 miles on the quiet morning, running shoes squeaking a bit on the moist asphalt. The thunder had long since subsided as had the flashes of electricity. I thought the sky was going to return to its usual clear state, but when I returned to my place, the air was darkening a bit.

I snacked, and since the wooden chairs out front were mostly dry and I couldn’t think of a better time to read, I started in on a taxidermy story from the Best American Sports Writing 2004.

The weeping willow in the front yard was clean now. Weeks of accumulated dust and debris were washed from the green of its leaves. I put my feet up, leaned back, opened my book ... and nearly fell backward in the chair.

Another set of towering cumulonimbus puffs rolled close and once again shook my attention from talk of using acetone to fluff squirrel tails.

I counted the seconds between the flash and the thunder. I couldn’t remember if one second meant a quarter-mile or a mile. I’m not one of those go-for-a-run-while-wearing-a-7-iron-on-my-head types in an attempt to feel alive because lightening is as unpredictable as it is dangerous, so I was conscious. No need to tempt nature.

But I still sat and read, ready to move if I needed, but unwilling to prematurely abandon my enjoyment of the morning, months in the making.  

The rain though, sent me under the porch, and the downpour pulled my eyes from talk about frozen goat feet.

The drops were huge, too big to remind me of the 100-something inches my home town annually endures, but perfect for more recollections of Colorado, or even the monsoons in Arizona.

My freshman year at Arizona, as all the locals ducked under any covering to escape the thick precipitation, I strolled right though as if it was an actual shower.

“You ain’t from around here.”

“Nope.”

I love this time of year. There is weather, rather than varying degrees of hot and the endless attempts to articulate just how horrible it is to be walking around in what feels like a post-workout arm-pit.

It’s life.

Sunny and mild, with a little Charlie Brown never too far.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.

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