On Weathering Storms

The lights flicker for a second while I’m in the shower, and I quickly duck my head under the water again in case they go out completely. Our water comes from a well here, and is pumped into the house. No electricity = no pump = no water. It’s almost an instinct, now that the power flickers threateningly several times an evening, and sometimes during the day.

The fans come to a standstill, and suddenly the frogs and crickets and cicadas and birds and all the other night time critters sound like a gigantic chorus swelling outside the window.

The wind starts blowing in the late afternoon, sometimes the evening, and the clouds roll in and the lightening flashes across the darkening sky. The kids count the seconds until they hear the thunder roll. Things not tied down in the neighborhood start to crash and fall.

I love it.

I love the wild wind whipping at the curtains, the echo of the thunder, and the way everything outside starts crashing around. I especially love the rain, how it comes in and soaks everything down and the air cools, and it smells fresh and clean and the trees let out these amazing aromas.

I grew up in storm country, a small town in a wide, wide prairie and we could watch the clouds build for miles. I walked home under a darkening green sky, wind tugging at my clothes and hair, knowing a tornado was just around the corner.

My brother and I used to chase lightening storms on our bikes, searching for the best place to see it all, as close as we could get. And when the rain came, and the sultry heat dissipated in the huge drops battering the ground all around us we would run out in our clothes, reveling in it.

I feel alive again when the rains come, exhilarated.

Little thinks it all pretty scary, so we have science lessons at bedtime where I remind her that it’s just hot air crashing into cold air, and electricity finding it’s way back to the earth.

I love it when it’s still raining in the morning, still nice and cool, and that sound, and that grey overhead, makes me feel cozy, and at home, and ready for a cup of tea, and a good book or project to sit down to.

A few days ago I had a moment, a stark moment, where I realized that, while there were many interesting, strange, bothersome, and beautiful things I could comment on about being here in Thailand, I had found nothing to love yet. This really felt like a horrible and depressing realization that made me feel like I was doomed to always find it difficult here.

I emailed my lovely wise friend Rae, who knows a thing or two about transplanting your whole family to a completely foreign country, while pregnant. She reminded me that loving a place comes with familiarity and memories that we attach to things, and familiarity comes with time. I haven’t been here long enough to find anything familiar, but she assured me it would come.

Then the storms came, and the stories I told the kids about my childhood chasing them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. And I realized that here was something familiar. This feels like home to me.

It was so unexpected, to find something so quickly that I just love, but here it was. I’m not a fan of the power going out, but even that, it happened all the time when I was little. We had oil lanterns in the dining room that we actually used often when the storms blew the power out. Now I go to the kitchen and fill a big pot full of water when the lights start to flicker, just to have some on hand if needed when the pump stops working. Maybe I should find a lantern too.

Of all things here, I didn’t expect the weather to be something I’m thankful for. But here I am, grateful for small mercies, and big storms, and the rainy season is only beginning.

all content © Carrien Blue

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