Friday, July 18, 2003

Chicago Weather

I smelled the storm yesterday before I even heard it. I stepped outside, walking back from campus. The air smelled damp and heavy with the smoke of a thousand cars. It had just rained a little, but I realized it wasn't done yet.

I heard the storm before I saw it. It was playing the steel drums, big drops hitting car roofs blocks away. The sound of a downpour on asphalt rose in my ears.

I saw the storm for a good second before I felt it. Have you ever seen rain come at you, as the cloud passes over? One instant it was pouring a block away, then the rain came up the street and hit me. It was warm summer rain, a thunderstorm breaking the back of the Chicago heat wave I had been living through. I pumped my fist in the air and ran out further into the rain, which lasted only a minute or so.

It returned with a vengeance later that day, lightning casting silhouettes on the walls and setting off car alarms. I ran out to my car, on my way to the grocery store. The 56th Street bridge was swamped with a good foot of flash flooding, and I could see about 100 yards in any direction. I had an umbrella in my car, but I ran out without it, getting soaked in the parking lot before I made it to the market.

Did I mention I like storms? Maybe someday I'll understand why.

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