Friday, June 9, 2017

Tornado Skies, Rainbow Weather

We had “bad” rains a couple of days ago, deluges that streamed down from an invisible, grey heaven, spreading floods and fear. This went on for days, which felt more like a punishment than a benediction. The air remained damp and cool. The sun remained a memory of warmth; the constant, insistent downpours conquered all, spoke above all conversations and TV shows, and turned the world into that indescribable color, that silver-grey-white. Visibility was low and we all hunkered down in cars and rooms in isolated bubbles, convinced that our range of visibility, our ten-foot radius was all that remained of the world. The unthinkable happened when malls were closed for flooding. Cars, branches, and other paraphernalia of a dry, logical world floated around, defunct, wet and lost, unable to find a use or definition.

We did not venture out unless forced. We cautioned each other on Facebook to stay in, stay dry, stay safe. My fingers and knees complained and the cats whined. Had the sun not shone when it did, we all would have begun to climb the walls in sheer cabin fever. We shudder at the memory.

We ran out of staples, of milk, bread, and eggs, but put off going out. We reminded ourselves to replenish our stock of batteries and water; we tallied our bank accounts to see if this is the year we’d get a generator (perhaps next year!). We dined on canned soup and canned beans and relished the hot water of our showers. The grocery list on our fridge began to fatten with perishables that could weather well. The sight of the empty peanut-butter jar began to cause discomfort. It was June; why didn’t we have our stock of crackers and sterno stoves? We stared wide-eyed at each other: how was this possible? Had we not just begun to get used to writing 2017 in our dates? How could half the year be gone?

Our TV’s, when they worked, were locked in at local weather stations; no other news mattered until the torrents stopped. We followed each shade of severity as the TV screen followed the storms moving inland and away, anchored our gaze on the point where we imagined we were. We stopped stitching and turned the burners on low when the weather was updated on top of the hour, and we listened. Our worried gaze sometimes shifted to the skies and we saw that green tinge that marks illogically heavy storms. We gasp when we hear that a tornado was observed in our zip code. Surely, the apocalypse must feel like this!

It is after June 1. Seasonal visitors have left for calmer latitudes. Here, where I write this, the hurricane season has begun and Sunshine State becomes a misnomer. It is one of my favorite times of the year. Perhaps it is the cathartic rains, the seriously blooming verdure, the shortened commute to and from work, and the empty grocery stores. The closet performer in me loves the drama of the storms. I have been fortunate in calling this landscape my home for long enough to know its skies well. This is the season of daily, multiple rainbows. Somehow, it is difficult to remain morose when faced with two well-defined rainbows arching above the highway.

This same splash of color spills through the landscape. Gulmohar trees burst out in flower flames. Hydrangeas bloom in a veritable rainbow. The entire vegetative world erupts in a cornucopia of colors and textures, and everything smells freshly cleansed. People bring out their colorful attire, sporting bold hues that shy away as the year gets older. Monsoon here feels like a celebration, since the children are out of school, home from colleges, visiting with families. This season feels full of promise, like a slice of fresh watermelon sprinkled with chaat masala, best served on ice. And yes, reader, it is mango season! This season is rich in color and flavor, and the rest of the year seems pale in compare.

The torrents have stopped for now. It still rains everyday, but there is no cosmic drama the skies indulge in. Of course, I pray that we are spared from a hurricane, even if it by the skin of our teeth. It is not the devastating aftermaths of hurricanes that I enjoy. But I find it difficult to resist the silvery shade of a rainy day in a season filled with blinding color and heat.

This weekend, I shall prepare my home for tornadoes, and I shall try not to miss any rainbows that are all part of this prothalmion of a season. 


  1. Very imaginative description of downpour that depresses most of the people. Loved the way summer is welcomed and enjoyed.