Grumbling

thunder
"Around four this afternoon, the sky should commence to grumbling again."

The summer-ish sky starts darkening by four. I notice one towering thunderhead already east of me, moving like a single advance galleon leading a following armada. Then I notice a much larger fleet wallowing in to the north. Once I slip down into the valley, I see a dark smoke-screen smear obscuring the western horizon. More sails appear. It might already be raining up at the house. The Muse dawdles leaving the lab again. My mind generates alternative scenarios for skirting mindless freeway traffic, which instantly turns stupid with the arrival of any rain. The invaders depend upon our over-confidence and I refuse to fall prey and so I freely catastrophize while waiting on The Muse.

We make home before the storm makes landfall, though distant rumbling comes from the west, up and over the mountain separating us from the true west.
Storms often break up when crossing that last reef before the plains, dropping their precious cargo on unappreciative woodland and rocky prominences rather than settled land. I set supper potatoes to roasting in duck fat before sitting quietly on the deck. Often, an attempt to sit quietly will attract skirmishers who spit annoyingly, but to little effect. This evening, I bring in the chair cushions before the full hoard arrives. The western sky shows a massive leading edge looking like a flying saucer with wispy, wind-swept cloud waves breaking over its bow. Small vessels, like upraised fists, float across the northern horizon, surrounding us.

The grill pre-heats in the presumption that it will fulfill its duty before the drenching assault arrives. Thunder grumbles almost constantly. The folks in Evergreen and Conifer must be taking the brunt tonight. Winds whirl, sending the cottonwoods and aspens into frenzied anticipatory dance. Pollen swirls within each gust, covering every surface with a fine talc finish. The deck's wood grain stands out in stark pollen-enhanced relief. My skin feels powdery to the touch. The wind prevents the grill from heating up very quickly, adding a touch more tension to the anticipation. Lightening flashes just to my right. The bulk of this invasion might slip to the south and east tonight.

Rain holds off until we're nearly through supper, finally dropping fat splashes on the window sill. The Muse stands to close the sliding window pane which drives me out onto the front porch to watch the wet settle in. I'm hoping for a drenching now, now that I'm safe at home and immune to mindless driver Dutch courage. Rain splatters my left shoulder but evaporates almost as soon as it strikes. The sidewalk, surprisingly, seems to stay soaked beyond its margins, which visibly shrink with the capricious wind. A double rainbow emerges before hostile forces hardly even engage. Intermittent grapeshot splatters rake the porch. The rainbows grow brighter.

I finally retreat into the protected confines of the garage to watch the engagement end. It hardly started, though it grumbled convincingly for an hour or two. A fine satisfying bark with little heart or stomach for biting us tonight. Oh, how the house shuddered when a massive grumble broke across it's brow! How the trees twisted in the feint, barely wetted for their fuss. By sundown, the sky stood still again. Overnight, a gentle breeze broke over the Front Range. By morning, no evidence of any threat remained. These are the monsoon rains, early this year. Some evenings the gullies get thoroughly gutted. Others, the rainfall evaporates back up into the passing fists before it can reach ground, even here at eight thousand feet. By bedtime, the windows will be shoved wide open again for a sweet night's sleep. Around four this afternoon, the sky should commence to grumbling again.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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