The sun has all but set in the muggy torpor of early evening when the storm explodes almost without warning: the pure white of lightning, pandemonium of thunder, warm wind whipping, weighty drops crashing. The deer that had come for their apples disappear into the comparative shelter of the woods. Over the tattoo of the rain I hear the train call from a ways away, then the fire station howl for its volunteers. A fire? Fallen tree? Car collision as the world suddenly darkened and blurred?
The air smells of mud, of earth running with water. As I lean into the opening between glass slider and door jamb, the air changes, freshens, lightens to the fragrance of wet foliage and wind.
The storm was only a tantrum, in five minutes the assault of curses gives way to muttering discontent. Rivulets streak the windows. Mini-puddles wink with the disturbance of occasional splatters. The sirens return, rising then falling, the Doppler urgency of emergency. The charcoal sky has lightened to pale ash and barely blue. The air is still sticky-warm.
I remember a day when we danced in such a rain in a long-gone Cambridge courtyard as someone strummed a guitar. It may have been the night we sang “Irene goodnight” over and over and over. But now there is just fog and glistening drops.