Chris and I are wrapping up our week with family here in Tennessee, but before I get back to the blog on Thursday, I wanted to invite Chris over to share a story of his, which is quite fitting to our time away right now. He’s such an incredible writer and I’m honored to have him as a part of Of Trees and Hues. :)
My wife and I moved to California in the dead of summer. From Memphis, we chugged along rural highways, through the cascading hills of middle America in a sweltering heat that was unfit for even Hell itself. The pavement beneath us cracked and splintered for thousands of miles, and we baked like cobbler. The unrelenting heat stalked us through the Ozarks and the flatlands of Kansas. When we hit the still snow-capped Rockies, I hoped we had a moment of reprieve. The next day, however, I found myself leaving Denver with the worst sunburn of my life.
But after passing through Colorado, we started to experience a drastic shift in what summer could be. Mild winds, clear skies, dry heat. Nearly ten years in the sweltering South had made me forget that a July afternoon could be anything aside from miserable.
For the next six months, the California sky stayed blue, like it was a serene piece of the Pacific that loomed overhead. No clouds. No ripples. No waves.
After a while, I started to doubt the reality of it. How could there be no clouds for months at a time? I wanted rain and snow, thunder and lightning. While growing up in Oklahoma, I got accustomed to having tornado sirens on every street corner and snowstorms during spring break. In Memphis, checking the weather once a day isn’t enough because it’s as fickle as a politician who is up for reelection.
Now, years later, I find myself missing the luxury of a rain cloud.
As teenagers, my younger brother and I lived next to a crowded children’s park. Laughter and hide-and-seek would echo well into dusk each day. But when it rained, the patter of little feet and hands disappeared, replaced by the din of deluge and the crash of thunder. We would take to the empty slides and swings, absorbing the nourishing downpour.
Soaked to the bone and exhausted, we would watch lightning in wonder as it danced across the gray-black sky before heading home. Those tiny adventures tempered our bond, turning brothers into friends.
On those rare California nights when clouds loom overhead, I long for even a single flash of lightning to make me feel young again.