My simple pleasure, another’s nightmare

Inspired by: Lisa’s post on Simple Pleasures

When I read about Lisa’s simple pleasures, I couldn’t help but think about what I would put on my list. And after I thought about that, I couldn’t help but think how one person’s pleasure can be another person’s nightmare.

One of the things on my list is the sounds and smells associated with storms, especially at night when all the other daytime sounds are quiet. Sitting with a mug of coffee, or snuggled in bed, with the lights and TV turned off, are favorite things to do during a storm.

Most times a storm begins with the wind kicking up its heels. It chases the clouds across the sky, making them shift shapes so fast that there isn’t time to enjoy the art of it. At the speed they are going it is no real surprise when they meet the invisible barricade erected by the “sky-way police”. With the wind from behind and nowhere to go, the clouds cram together, grow in density, and change color from fluffy white cotton balls to a selection of gray, blue and hues of both.

The stronger the wind blows, the harder the trees dance. Branches, stiff from being in an ever stationary position, start to sway lightly. Just a little bit this way, and a little bit that way, adding a little shake to the leafs, then start all over again. It is slow going at first, finding the right rhythm. But then, limbs creaking and popping, the pace is set for a full-blown shake-rattle-roll!

Once in a while, rarely in the Eastern Cape, a deep rumble will sound from Nature’s throat. The sound is strong (sometimes not) enough to cause a quiver in the ground and resonate in your heart. It fills me with awe, respect and that feeling of “I’m alive!”.

The smell, of the first water leaking from the heavy clouds, is the best thing ever. It warns to seek cover, fast, or get wet! The first drops that fall can be light, soft as a feather’s touch. Other times it reminds of stomping feet, heavy and, on occasion, booted. In houses with tiled roofs the pit-pit-pat-tat of raindrops sounds far away. The best place to listen to the rain is under a tin roof or in your car. I find the sound very relaxing and it always triggers my imagination.

On stormy nights, when there are no other sounds to distract me, I can hear some wonderful symphonies. I know there are people who get really uncomfortable, and even scared or terrified, at the sound of the wind moving between buildings and  through trees. And some people feel that way about thunder. I’m thankful that I can enjoy them.

Originally published: 08.11.2010


10 thoughts on “My simple pleasure, another’s nightmare

  1. I love storms too. We get thunder and lightning storms very frequently through the summertime here. It’s often after a hot day and the winds cool everything off. We certainly get our share of damage from storms, but for the most part they are harmless. We will often sit out on our porch and watch the lightning, as long as its off in the distance. It’s interesting that you rarely hear thunder there… for us it’s pretty commonplace. When the storm is right over you the thunder sometimes is so loud it almost shakes the house!

    • It’s been years since I experienced an honest to goodness thunder and lightning storm – not since moving to the coast.
      Sitting on the porch watching the storm roll in must be so amazing!

  2. Don’t want to talk about storms. Normally I love them; the sounds of the thunder claps, the flash of the lightning… but there is a guy up on my roof, as I write this, inspecting it for all the leaks that contributed to a large puddle of water in my living room from this past week’s winter storm. Not a fan of storms right now… maybe I will be, once again, when the roof has been fixed!

    • Can well imagine how you feel, Lu! I have a leak problem myself after the rain – it soaked through the walls on one side of my flat and now a very unpleasant musty smell permeates the air. I’m hoping for at least a couple of sunny days to help dry out the walls. My little heater on the inside isn’t much help.
      Hope your roof get fixed soon!

  3. Your description of the storm — the wind, the clouds, the rain — made me feel as though I were watching it form. You have a great skill for descriptive writing, and I look forward to reading more.

  4. I don’t mind thunder and lightning, but having spent some of my childhood in the Tornado Belt of the U.S., I am terrified of wind! I still have vivid memories of sitting in the basement under a table listening to the weather on a transistor radio during a Tornado Warning. It was only about 3 in the afternoon, and it was as dark as night outside. There were hailstones as big as golf balls coming down. I was never in a tornado, but when you’re six, that’s a pretty scary thing!


    • That must have been really scary for you, Wendy. Thanks for sharing the memory.

      The wind where I live is pretty mild so I might change my mind if I experience something different.

  5. Hey CM! I apologize for my long absence here…just blame it on Life rearing it’s ugly head. And look at all the good stuff I missed! I enjoyed reading your description of a storm…very poetic 🙂 I appreciate it coz I’ve learnt to enjoy the majesty of storms over the years! We have quite a spectacle in Goa when the Monsoon arrives…thunder & lightning and sheets of rain for days on end! If you don’t have to venture out of the house…it’s pretty awesome, especially with hot coffee, plenty of quilts and some good deep-fried snacks 🙂

    • No apology necessary, Harsha! I know you’re going through a lot right now.
      After reading first Wendy’s and now your comments I realized that I probably like the storms because I’m not out in the elements. Snuggling while it rages outside is definitely the thing to do 🙂

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