Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Fear of Storms
After a long, dry period, we are now getting a lot of rain. This was taken from my front door about three minutes after a hard rain began. Even in that short a period, you can see the street began to flood a bit. Unfortunately, all the rain hasn't seemed to do much about the high heat and humidity, which is making me kind of miserable.
The other day Lisa and I were talking about the series of brief but violent thunder storms we have been having. She told me about how terrified her cat is when he hears thunder. I told her it's sometimes worse when humans are so afraid of a storm. My mother was one of them.
There were two incidents in my mother's life which I suppose were responsible for her fear. The first followed a serious illness, when the doctor told her mother to take her up to the Poconos, where he said the good, fresh mountain air would help her recover. They stayed in a beautiful old hotel there. One day, while taking a horse and buggy ride through the forest, there was a sudden storm. Lightning struck a tree along the path. It fell in front of the horse, he bolted and raced through the woods. The wild ride frightened my mother badly.
The second happened a few years later. During a storm, the family all gathered in their kitchen. It was a long room, with a linoleum floor covering. Lightning struck the house and a fire ball actually rolled the length of the room, burning a path along the linoleum. I can imagine that would be pretty frightening to watch.
When I was a small child my father was concerned that Mother's behavior and obvious fear during a storm would frighten me. He would take me outside, onto the large covered front porch, and show me how beautiful the lightning was. I loved it! (Not that he didn't have his own weird reaction. After the storm he would go through the house to every closet, and sniff, just in case there was a fire smoldering somewhere.)
Many years later, when Mother was living alone here in North Cape May, she really carried it to the extreme. She was completely deaf, and I'm sure she slept through many a storm. But when one came up during the day, she would immediately find her coat and her pocketbook. She would sit on the living room sofa, wearing the coat and holding her pocketbook on her lap, and wait it out, ready to run out of the house if lightning struck.
Thank God, I never had any fear of storms. I find them exciting and beautiful. I rather look forward to them. My still unrealized ambition is to photograph a lightning bolt in the sky. The first year after we moved to this area, we had a terrific storm which actually knocked out my television. During that storm a photographer set up her tripod near the Cape May Lighthouse and shot a couple of rolls of film. She managed to capture a really great shot when lightning struck and went right through the lighthouse. It appeared in our local paper, The Cape May Star and Wave. I contacted her and bought a copy, which hangs in my living room today. I would love to reproduce it here, but I have no way of being in touch with her now, and wouldn't want to print it without her knowledge. But it inspires me. I keep trying. Maybe one of these days......