Saturday, March 8, 2008


Yesterday's storms were awesome! Beginning in the mid-afternoon, and for hours thereafter, wave upon wave of storms blew through, creating havoc for a little while and then rolling away toward the ocean. There were a few storms that bordered on the level of causing concern (when the thunder crashes directly overhead and hail starts pounding the roof, I start to worry a bit), but that didn't last long. Most of the storms were just the kind I like: sky-to-ground lightning, thunder boomers that remind me of the end of the 1812 overture at a Fourth of July Pops Concert, and rain. The rain began as a slight drizzle and built to the kind of undulating sheets that come from a tropical system. It was totally cool.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had to resort to exercising on the treadmill, which is located in a room that used to be the back porch. The room is in the back of the house and is surrounded by what appears to be a jungle. Within months of buying this house, my DH planted just about every kind of tropical plant imaginable in our back yard (which is VERY SMALL). He planted orange trees, grapefruit trees, a lime tree, a lemon tree, pineapples, bananas, azaleas and god-only-knows-what other kinds of flowers. It is a landscaping nightmare, but DH loves it, and I love his enjoyment of his jungle-paradise. I simply avoid going outside, leaving it to the snakes and other critters who call it home.

In addition to all of that, several years ago he planted a bird-of-paradise plant on either end of the back porch. The plant on the east side immediately shot up to amazing heights. It is taller than the house with some leaves that are at least four feet long. The plant on the west side of the porch took a long time to grow because it did not get enough sun at first. Once it reached the height of the top of the roof, it took off and it, too, dwarfs the house, with enormous leaves near the bottom. That plant is directly in front of two of the three windows on that side of the porch. It provides shade that helps keep the room cool (it used to be an inferno in the afternoon). Because my treadmill faces in that direction, the plant also provides amazing entertainment for me while I exercise. It is home to a family of tree frogs who are fun to watch. It is also a sort of superhighway for geckos moving from the side of the house to someplace else.

The best thing of all, however, is watching rain on those amazing leaves. A gentle mist sort of beads up and sits on the leaves until eventually the beads reach some kind of critical mass at which point they pool together and drip heavily onto the next lower leaf, where they continue their graceful trip to the ground. Harder rain runs in rivulets down the leaves exactly like on the science shows on TV. I always thought the pictures of rain in the jungles was beautiful. Watching it in person in real time is even more incredible. (Add to that the fact that I am dry and inside in the air-conditioning instead of trekking through the rain forest and it's even better!)

During a really hard rain, the water pours over the plant in sheets turning it into a free-standing waterfall. A veil of water covers the plant entirely and all I can see is the cascade of water running down in various directions over the (invisible) leaves. That kind of super-hard rain typically doesn't last too long but it is amazing and beautiful when it happens.

It happened a couple of times yesterday. I am grateful to have witnessed it.

"It makes me marvel." Fred Rogers

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