Upcoming Thunderstorm

As I leave the house, I wonder if upon my return I will still be dry. The sky has taken on the color of lead, even though the heat of the day still lingers heavily and undisturbed by any ever so small breeze. You can not even smell the thunderstorm yet through its thickness. Only the color of the last daylight is somehow wrong and speaks of the upcoming changes. Now, upon the end of the day, the country releases the smells it has captured during the sun filled afternoon, melted asphalt and mowed grass mix to a summer’s day cocktail.

As I pass the first pear trees, whose fruits have trippled in size during the week I spent away from my home, the wind sets in with a fury, without any sign of warning. As it speeds up quickly – not in the usual gusts, but with a steady increase of fierceness – it drives the smells before it like a broom sweeping along the yard would chase dry leaves. The first smell I pick up is that of the cows grazing a few yards in the distance. They have raised their broad heads, their stare following their odor just having been taken from them by the wind. After the cows come the fields. Sparkling with the occasional bouquet of flowers, the wind now refreshes for the first time. With the increase in speed it has also taken on a smoothing cool. And then comes the sea. The sea with its white froth of wavetops, cold, chilling, harsh of salt. Like a cold shower, stinging my sweatcovered skin. Fish, dead and alive all the same, fringe the edges of the sea-smell. Leaping behind their passage with the wind comes the dust from the fields, accidentaly fallen short into the seasmells. You see it coming in a yellow cloud, and then all of a sudden it surrounds you completely and finds its way into eyes, ears, hair and, worst of all, your eyelashes. You have to stop, rub, sneeze, twinge, but with any grain you remove from the wrinkles and openings of your body, ever more of it rushes in. When you finally can open your eyes again the clouds have caught up with the wind and the darkness has within seconds reached a depths where colors fade into mere shades of gray.

I decide to skip the fields and head straight back home. The storm has sucked people out of the cores of their houses and has driven them to the windows and doors. Sunstreaken faces lurk from every opening in the walls, sendig up questioning looks towards heaven. Their foreheads in deep wrinkels they seem to wonder wether they should quickly pour a libation to the god of the winds, to pacify his anger, to make him pass their roofs, their shindles, their trees, their braches loaded with fruit. As the wind lessens for a few minutes to gain his strength, they dare to leave the shelter of their doorsteps and suddenly the sidewalk is filled with human flesh, strangely uncovered still from an evening spent exhautedly in a cool corner. The sudden outburst of nature didn’t even leave them time to cover their nakedness, as they hectically push bicycles, benches and protesting cats inside. Just in time before the wind is back, now bending down the branches overhanging the street, as if it used them as hands to grab for anything still out in the open. To grab for my bare legs it uses the stinging nettle, whipping at them in painful lashes. Underneath the rustling of the leaves there is a strange silence. The birds have stopped singing, the frogs‘ choir has quit its evening rehearsal, even the mutter of televisions from the houses has ceased. Growing from this silence you hear the first murmur of thunder, still far in the distance, a low, long rumble. Behind the next turn of the street a lightning illuminates the sky, it had waited for me just to turn around the corner, eager for an audience. I start counting. Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three…twenty-six… just as I give up counting the next thunder bellows from afar.

Now it is time to speed up and retreat to the sun-baked appartment. Just as I enter my street, the first drops of rain darken the asphalt. They evaporate on the spot, giving off a little steam as they die softly on the heated surface. I stop to smell the intense, comforting, olfactoric pleasure of wet dust after a hot summer’s day. This is it. This is home. I turn the key and can already hear the raindrops hitting hard onto the tilted roof-windows. I made it. I came home dry. My appartment welcomes me with the smell of warm books and melted candles.