Thursday, June 19, 2014

the dripping apocalypse

When I lived in Oregon, it was a sad summer day when the rains started.

After all, Pacific Northwest winters are notoriously wet.  But the summers are the best I know in the world -- and we cherish the sunny days.  So, we feel a bit cheated up north when a sunny June day turns wet.

Not so, in Melaque.  Summer is our wet season.  We can either get the wet (in the form of humidity) with hellishly high temperatures.  Or we can get it with torrential rain storms.

I have been back at my Mexpatriate desk for a week now, and we have had nothing but day after day of weather so hot and damp I may as well be living in an elephant's armpit.

That all changed about 6 yesterday evening.  The clouds slowly rolled in, and then broke loose with a glorious tropical downpour. 

We love the summer rain here.  The moment it starts, you can feel the temperature drop with the rain.  And it did.

For six years I have been listening to these summer storms.  But one aspect always stands out to me.  The thunder.

Our Pacific Northwest thunderstorms are weedy little things.  Drizzly rain.  Pops of thunder.

On my cruise, I finished reading Margaret MacMillan's Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World and The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.  The first involves the peace conference ending the first world war; the second is how the war began.  I highly recommend the first.  Not so much the second.

One thing that struck me in reading her books is how technology had changed warfare by the time 1914 rolled around.  The beating that the civilian and military populations took from artillery barrages was a brutal innovation.

And that is what the thunder here in Melaque sounds like to me.  As I write this the thunder is clapping right over my house.  Not a single, clap, either.  It is a volley of explosions.  As if a line of 155-mm howitzers were firing seriatim.

There have even been a couple of claps that sounded as if the earth was opening up to swallow us before the Whore of Babylon could have her way with us.  Alas, it was just an insignificant sound and fury -- as Macbeth would have it.

But, like too many things in life, the dramatic moment has passed.  No shots left in the locker.  No shafts of light.  Just a bit of dribbly rain.

The summer thunderstorms are one reason I hang around here in the damp underwear season.  Like a good Broadway show, they do not open often.  But, during their run, they are something to see.

Even though we have yet to see the Whore and her multi-headed beast.

Maybe next storm.

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