I don't know why, but I love the sound of thunder. The louder the better. My favorite kind of thunder is the slow, rolling, window-vibrating type that goes on and on across the sky.
It could be that the thunder and accompanying rain give us some respite from the broiling heat of summer. Even in Zumba class tonight (and the Tuesday instructor likes the music really, really loud), we could hear the thunder booming. It made me smile. And I missed a couple of steps in that routine.
Thunderstorms always remind me of summer camp when I was young. I remember one particularly ferocious storm, when we were all gathered in the Lodge, which had a metal roof. I don't think I liked thunderstorms so much back then; I got really frightened when my school friend AND camp friend said, "Hail!" (And her last name was Hailey...... tee hee.) I had no idea what she was talking about. I had never seen hail before, and it made no sense to me whatsoever that ice would be falling from a Georgia sky in the middle of the summer. I misunderstood her, thinking she said "Hell!" and not in the bad word way (though that wouldn't have been outside the realm of possibility for her). I therefore concluded (erroneously, as it turned out) that the Apocalypse was upon us. Although I didn't know the word Apocalypse, and I wouldn't have known how to spell it even if I had. I was convinced the world was coming to an end without my ever having received a package from home at camp.
There are times when I suppose thunderstorms can be an inconvenience. Even dangerous. When I was on RAGBRAI a few years ago, a fierce storm blew up during the night. Because there were roughly 10,000 people sleeping in tents (that is NOT one of my classic exaggerations, by the way), officials took a cautious route and ordered a voluntary evacuation. (Can you "order" a voluntary evacuation? Don't you really just suggest it?) I didn't hear the police officer make the announcement from the loudspeaker of his car, but my friend came to my tent and said they wanted us to go to a nearby middle school.
I was groggy and fatigued and unsure of what to do. I'd never been in an evacuation before, voluntary or otherwise. "What do I need to take?" I asked her.
"An I.D. and some money," she replied.
How about "A blanket and a pillow, since you're going to be spending the rest of the night on the cold tile floor of a middle school cafeteria"?
I attempted to sleep, but it was near impossible in those circumstances. Sometime around 3:00 AM, another girl and I decided it was better to be blown away in our sleep than lie on a tile floor with no pillow or blanket. The storm had pretty much blown over by then, and many people in our group simply rode it out in their tents. The worst part of it was that we only got a couple hours of sleep before we had to get up and continue on our bike ride across Iowa.
No, that was the SECOND worst part. The WORST part was being awakened after only a couple hours of sleep by the sound of the CACKLING laughter of the idiot who had told me to take an I.D. and some money when she and her husband returned to camp.
I bet I'll know next time what to take when I'm evacuated during a thunderstorm.