Emerging from the revolving doors exiting my office building last night the contrast between the cool chill of a refrigerated marble lobby and the hot night air dripping with moisture was stark. It was like walking out of a meat locker and into a steam bath. I watched a nearly full orange moon rise over the City, its edges smudged by the haze that blurred the skyline.
This morning I could feel the moisture in the air even before I made the transition from indoor air conditioning to the oppressive, damp blanket that draped itself over me as soon as I stepped outside. From my living room window I could see the film from the night before had grown thicker. The smell was not New York, instead I experienced a series of aromatic reminiscences - I was walking across the back deck that connected my bedroom to the family's home I was living with in Sydney, Australia, the exotic birds called in the distance as I admired the fog that had settled just below the deck in the early morning; I was in North Queensland, Australia, up early to meet my group on a hazy, humid morning walking through the tropical trees; I was in Costa Rica in February driving through the rain forest - all in a flash. The aroma is like nothing else and it is delightful. It not only promises rain but a summer thunderstorm.
This afternoon the clouds could no longer hold back their heavy burden of moisture - a shock of light followed quickly by a blast of thunder shook my window and I spun around in my chair to observe the storm. The sun was all but extinguished by thick, black clouds weighed down by the rain that was pouring out all at once. I felt each discharge in my stomach and tried to focus on work. But mother nature was calling, she demanded my attention. I faced the window for a moment then pressed forward in shuffling more paper around my desk. The next explosion reverberated off the buildings and rolled down Fifth Avenue, sirens sounded and all was chaos for a few moments. I imagined children clinging to parents and dogs home alone hiding in closets and under beds.
Ideally, I could have shut my office door, turned out the lights and observed the display. I love summer thunder storms. I love the contrasting relief of rain falling on hot cement. All senses are awakened and delighted. Torrents of rain spilling from the heavens as lightening dances across the sky and low, rumbling thunder shocks then fades as it bounces off into the distance. Thunderstorms in the City remind me nature still exists here. I am reminded of other storms where the thunder rolls over mountains and through valleys rather than tall buildings and through streets.
The show has ended for now, but the darkness remains hinting that another rumbling, flashing, pealing display could follow before long. It makes me anxious for my vacation in 10 short days where I have been warned it will briefly rain daily in hot sheets.