awakened by flash-boom --
then ice balls pounding the roof --
has winter returned?
It's nearly midnight but I can't sleep. Restless. The cells of my body feel a storm approaching from the west. A flash of intense light sears through my eyelids. I start counting. But before I finish one-one-thousand, a loud boom makes my body jump. That was close! Rain is thudding on the roof, but then the thudding turns to pounding. Uh oh. I get up and look out the windows. Small balls of ice are bouncing on the roof overhang like popcorn, banging against the glass, clanging on the metal rain gutters.
I wish I'd known this was coming so I could put a tarp over the car. And what about the magnolia tree, just about to bloom? Anxiously, I watch to see whether the hail gets any bigger than popcorn. But then I'm amused to notice the solar lights on the path. Confused by the intermittent lightning, they turn off when it flashes, then back on again during the short intervals.
I'm reminded of a hailstorm I witnessed in Pokhara, Nepal. Pam and I had been shopping after our trek. Without warning, suddenly a deluge of hail. We duck into a restaurant, order chai, and watch the storm. A group of children huddle under a cement ping pong table across the street.
A group of women with a baby take shelter under a large tree.
But a poor cow, confused by being pummeled, keeps jumping and changing directions, as if it is being switched by an unseen hand.
After the hail stops, the sidewalks are littered with leaves, the streets flooded. But soon vehicles and people begin moving again. In the light rain a pair of ladies sharing a pink umbrella stroll through the ankle deep brown water in their plastic sandals. One lady has hiked up her silk sari, but the other lady doesn't seem to mind that her punjabi pants are soaked to the knees.
In my mind I hear the voice of our friend Yuba, expressing the age-old wisdom of Nepal, saying, "No problem." And if there really is a problem, "What to do?"