A Summer Storm.


I have never owned an umbrella. This probably seems strange as I was born in a country renowned for being rained on, but the U.K.’s relative dampness doesn’t describe what the rain in the old country is actually like. Shielded from the full force of the Atlantic by Ireland, the Britain of my memory is much more soggy than stormy. Now, whilst in recent years the Southern flood plains of England have taken on a lot of water giving a lot of posh people a short sharp lesson in the realities of climate change, this was the result of rain just falling and falling and falling and falling, British rain is, rather fittingly, non confrontational in an attempt to cause as little fuss as possible whilst it completely overruns you.

This did not prepare  me for the experience of an American thunderstorm in all it’s furious glory. I live on Broad Street, which runs the length of Philadelphia north to south giving my apartment a great view of the center of town. for those of you unfamiliar with Philadelphia the city has very few skyscrapers. concentrated around center city, due to a law repealed only in the 1980s banning any building taller than the statue of William Penn atop our baroque city hall. I assume this is why storm clouds tend to collect around the  skyscrapers as though any gods  in the vicinity have a  distinct hatred of humanity  reaching higher than  brick will Take us. The ominous grey  clouds build over the course of  around an hour and a half: a relative instant in the  world of atmospheric  functions, whist providing Just enough time  for  you to register, perhaps even appreciate the hulking power  that is currently holding hundreds on thousands of water  above you.  whilst the clouds form, the straight  streets created  by the grid system forever  associated with American cities  draw gusts through the residential wind corridors feeding  the grey behemoth hanging over the city.

The  trees lining Broad Street  bend toward the thick,  graying section of the  sky as  it crawls forward with a  steady inevitability, growing as the air cracks with  shots of thunder and premature  dashes of  lighting above  the clouds reminding me of the more  terrifying scenes from Fantasia,  growing in it’s ferocity as the first few droplets of rain begin to brush my face just before I notice water flung from the sky hitting the steaming pavement.

Taken from sweetnessofblue.blogspot.com

Within a minute the promise of rain is thrown at the ground changing the world from a charged dried environment to a sodden whirlwind pouring  all the punishment available to the heavens onto the now steaming concrete. From the vantage  point of my apartment  I get to watch sheets rain  scrape their way up Broad  Street as the trees are shook by the sudden violent gusts of wind, causing the lampposts to rock just enough to catch the eye and unnerve you. The initial excitement gives way to a steady rattle of   droplets on glass  punctuated by a constant screech flowing through my air conditioner  and just as soon as the drama of the Storm burst it’s gone.  In it’s wake, is left  a less Impressive but  no less welcome rainfall; ricocheting off surfaces  with ever diminishing power.

It’s not that rainfall is an alien event to me, neither are storms. but before coming to America I’d never had the sensation that the fury of nature was coming to destroy me and everything I hold dear.  Coming from a country with around 20 degrees of  temperature varient, the Idea of weather that is armed and dangerous  is yet another aspect of life in America that makes the whole  country Seem ever so slightly unreal. My mind is constantly rebelling  against the fact that a country can experience minus 11°C and yet not  be populated (at least a little bit) by fauns and messiah lions.  I love American Summer storms because they remind me that whilst  yes the United States is poorly run by developed world standards,  and yes a depressingly high amount of this country’s residence ane somewhat to the right of Mussolini in a lot of respects; it’s a fucking exiting place to live.