Fire and Rain

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Early June, quiet morning. A gentle rain taps on the maple leaves outside my window Rain! How we need it! We’ve had a few days of rain in the past two weeks, but not nearly enough to wet the forest floor. Let it rain some more!

Forest fires are springing up everywhere. A couple of them within 10 kilometres of my little log cabin in the woods. These have been small fires, started by lighting. Many of these lightning fires appear long after the storm, after smouldering for days in the dry duff of the forest floor. Thank goodness for the dedication of the flying fire fighters in airplanes and helicopters!

Lightning storms are awesome. Truly, they fill me with awe. There is such a thrill to see the brilliance of the light, to hear the shattering rolls of thunder. One, two, three, four…boom! That one hit just a kilometre away! I enjoy these storms immensely. But these days I have a bit of fear mixed in there too – for the fires that may be starting.

That joy of thunderstorms takes me back to being seven years old. I remember leaning on the wide windowsills of our big old brick house. We worried about the lightning ‘getting us’ through the windows, but we just had to watch the storms. We were drawn to the windows like moths to the flame. We were only lightly reassured by the three lightning rods on the roof (does anyone have lightning rods anymore?).

Now, more than 50 years later, I am still drawn by the power of the storm. I love to hear the storm’s approach. I still count the seconds between the flash and the roar. I watch spellbound, anticipating the next flash, scanning the sky, hoping that I’ll be looking in the right direction when it hits.

The rain comes down fiercely, with a force that flattens the surface of the lake. The rain pelts the lake, the ground, and the rooftop with a hammering force. The noise is almost deafening. I feel refreshed as the earth soaks up this moisture. I can almost feel the plants taking in a long, cool drink of water.

When my daughters were young, I taught them to enjoy the storms as well. When the first big lightning storms would come early in the spring, I would hold the little one close on my lap. We would sit on the porch of the sauna so we could feel the power in the storm, and the wind on our faces. As we watched the storm together, she could feel my joy, the excitement of and thrill of the light, the noise and the rain.

The really good storms are over quickly. The sky clears, the day dawns anew. I’m reminded of the many reasons I live here. The quiet peacefulness, the lush forest, bountiful wildlife, and that moist, clean smell of the air after the rain.

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