Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer storms

A storm blew through Ottawa tonight with wind speeds up to 90 kilometres an hour – ripping leaves and branches off trees and collapsing the main stage at Bluesfest.

We’ve been melting in a heat wave these last few days - so the cool air the storm brought is welcome. Temperatures at Ottawa airport dropped by 12 degrees in roughly an hour.

We’re a big fan of thunderstorms at our place. We have a big window in the living room at which we will sit and watch the storm blow through. Tonight the cats nervously joined us, twitching as leaves and debris were being tossed around. If I catch a flash of lightening, I’ll tell Miya that thunder is coming and she eagerly waits for it, then imitates the rumble or jumps around with excitement.

Only once was she really startled by a storm, and that was mostly due to me. We were walking back from the park since the sky had suddenly clouded over and the winds picked up. I was carrying her on my shoulders when a clap of thunder burst right above our heads. I jumped – so M was startled both by the loud noise and my reaction.

I lifted her down and carried her the rest of the way, trying to make up for my show of fright by admiring the thunder that continued to rumble all around us. Often when she hears a particularly loud or drawn out thunder roll she’ll say seriously, “that’s pretty cool.”

I’ve always loved storms, even when I’ve been caught out in them. Although I’ve had some close calls with lightening on some canoe trips and have a healthy respect for the potentially destructive power of nature, I love watching the sky churn with dark clouds and wind, the trees bend with the invisible force, the driving rain...

I love how a storm changes and progresses – the winds of warning which come before, that momentarily lull before the first hard and sudden bursts of rain. Some storms settle down and stay awhile, soaking the ground and over-flowing drains and sewers. Others blow through so fast that a few hours later it almost seems like nothing happened.

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