The left coast is so beautiful and welcoming to me in so many ways, that there’s not much that I miss from “home”. Sure, I miss some people, the architecture, and the food…but the mountains and the ocean talk to me like Mount Royal never did. Long, cold winters make the trees and the earth there hard and reserved, and when I would go walking, I’d listen and hear their hardship, and feel my own. But out here, the earth and trees take long, slow breaths and I breathe with them, feeling my feet firm on the ground, and my heart open to the sky. The temperateness does me good, as I have no fondness for frostbiting winters and brain-boiling summers, but I do miss Thunder.
Thunder that cracks the heavens and hurls raindrops the size of quarters down on hot summer skin. Night thunder is even better.
When I was very little – I’m talking six, seven years old – I told my grandmother that I was a battery, and thunder recharged me – BZZT! I’d sit in the window and stare out into Montreal rainstorms, and wait for flashes, knowing the kaboom was right behind. When I was old enough to not be restrained by warnings of “you’ll catch a cold!” or “you’ll get struck by lightning!”, I would go out in those downpours, soak to the skin and feel my head crack open a little wider with each roar from the sky.
One of my favourite moments in my life, was walking along Sherbrooke, very late one hot summer night. I’d been at an unusual and wonderful party, and my head was aching from deep conversation and too much fun. I was so lost in my thoughts that I had not noticed the flash. For a split second, it seemed that all the sound in the world was being sucked out of my ears, and I looked up as the storm arrived. Thunder – like I’ve never heard before or since – rolled in slowly, almost musically, becoming louder until it was directly overhead and broke the sky with an orgasmic, mind altering explosion, and rain poured down to drench the world. At the peak of the sound, it was as though that thunder had sledgehammered into the base of my skull, and I felt all my tension shatter and drop down my spine, washing away with the rain, into the earth. Like weary travelers, the sky and I dropped our baggage in the street, and listened to the thunder continue it’s roll across the sky into the night.
Although it rains a lot, we don’t really get storms like that in Vancouver. Perhaps the reason that I don’t mind the rain is that I associate it with thunder. On the rare occasion that we get a good T&L storm, it feels like home to me, and I grin, and feel recharged.