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......

7 comments:

Rocky Mountain Retreat said...

I don't mind storms at all as long as they don't do any serious damage. The majority of them don't as long as they are minor.
We haven't had any heavy rains for a long time here in our parts of British Columbia and need it so much with the extreme temperatures and the forest fires so I'm hoping that when the storms do roll in, they won't bring in lightning to our timber dry forests...
Our cat is afraid of thunder and hides under the bed or couch and we won't find him for hours!! =)

Deborah Godin said...

These are some great storm stories, although I can see where they could make a person fearful, they're pretty extreme. I have loved thunder and lightning since I was a little kid, and have never had any "close calls" like these.

Daryl said...

Love it when it storms and the rain comes down and washes away the dirt on the sidewalks and races down the gutters like a river ...

Abraham Lincoln said...

I like rain. We are having typical thunder showers right now as I type this. As a kid, during World War II, we used to gather at Dutch Harleman's house and set on his big front porch and play monopoly. Sometimes his mom would bring out a dishpan filled with popcorn popped in lard. Those were heavenly days. Most people nowadays don't know what a front porch is, much less have one.

Thanks for helping me to make history.
Pick a Peck of Pixels

Dianne said...

I love storms except for the power issues - and we've been having a lot of those

Siren is very afraid of thunder - he runs around for a bit, then hides, he won't let me comfort him

Lily Hydrangea said...

great story Bobbie. I could see it as I was reading it.

Rambling Woods said...

What an interesting post Bobbie. I am not afraid of storms, but I don't live in a area where they can do serious damage..although we had 3 tornadoes in this area this summer which is really unusual....Michelle