Monday, July 17, 2006

Vague de chaleur et puis une orage

Yesterday we left the sauna that has become our house and took the kids to the beach to beat the 95-degree heat/95% humidity. We walked the four blocks, zig-zagging for shade. On the path above the beach we looked down to see hundreds of people packed onto a parking lot-sized beach. On down and picking our way through the crowd we found the water and cooled off, swinging Isaac and Bea around and watching them jump, splash, run and accidentally drink seawater. After 20 minutes of giddiness we watched the sky go from searing blue to dark grey. ‘OK’ we thought, a little rain. But five minutes later the lifeguards were blowing whistles and waving people off the beach. Then the rain. Big, wet drops pelted us. Thunder crashed and fat bolts of lightning struck the earth to the south of us. Everyone packed up and ran off the beach, in our haste we dropped a sandal and a kind lady risked being trampled to hand it back to us. It reminded me of people fleeing in a Godzilla movie. Once off the sand and up on the bluff we looked down at the beach now totally deserted.

On the way home, we carried the kids through thick rain. Ourselves, other families watching the lightening and cringing when the thunder boomed. It rained like it rains in CNN coverage of a hurricane. Streets flooded and sidewalks submerged. As wet as if we’d just surfaced from a pool, we made it home to find our house (leaky roof) and yard soaked. While Megan and I were toweling up pools of water in the hallway, the rain shorted out the door buzzer, making it ring continuously for five minutes. After we mopped and dried up we looked outside and it looked like any other normal cloudy evening. Later, when Megan rode her bike to the video store, she passed the main park of town, now littered with branches and two blackened trees felled by the lightning.

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