Thursday, August 24, 2006


It is early afternoon. The sky begins to darken. The clouds begin to build. It is Summer in Louisiana and there is a storm on the way.

It begins slowly, with a few large raindrops that leave marks like quarters on the ground. Then the rain begins in earnest. It comes down in sheets, as strong as any household shower. The world in the distance disappears into a waterladen haze. The sky gets yet darker.

In only a few moments, the ground is awash with water. Even in places that previously seemed perfectly flat, an inch or more of water will accumulate. Lightening flashes from time to time and the associated thunder sounds like gun fire. A few unlucky people run for cover. Even those with umbrellas are soaked to the middle, as raindrops bounce as they hit the ground. The world is transformed by water.

People huddle for shelter in doorways, or wherever they can find shelter. They watch the rain. Some smoke cigarettes. Everybody waits for the rain to ease up. As the storm continues, people grow inpatient. A brave few will run so as to reach cars, or where they need to go. Others are more resigned and calmly step into the torrent and walk away, ignoring the soaking. Yet others just continue to wait.

After all, this is typical on a Summer day in Louisiana, when the conditions are correct. Such storms provide a respite from the heat, although they also raise yet further the humidity. What everybody knows is that it could be a lot worse. This is just a passing storm. It is not a hurricane.


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