The Write Practice

The Online Writing Workbook

Thunderstorm

PRACTICE

Write about thunderstorms.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments. If you post your practice, please comment on a few other practices.

Thunderstorm feet

Photo by Bark

Here’s mine:

We were driving to Nashville—arguing about something I don’t remember, probably that didn’t want to go and I had forced her, tricked her, manipulated her into the four-hour drive and weekend away—when the storm hit. Just before, I had noticed the wet road, the puddles on the shoulder, the dewy grass, and thought maybe they have sprinkler systems along the highways in Tennessee. Then, it got misty ahead. Then, it was sprinkly. Then, it started to rain harder and harder until it was as if God was standing over the highway with a bucket pouring it all over us.

The windshield wipers were whining loud but I still couldn’t get a clear sight of the black pick up truck ahead of us. I slowed to 60 then 45 then 40, craning my neck to the window and squinting past the water but it was worthless. You just couldn’t see. I started worrying about floods.

Faster than it started it stopped. The windshield wipers were whining for nothing and the truck ahead picked up speed. The shoulders of the road were dry and the grass dusty. I looked to the rearview mirror to see the moving patches of darkness dancing within the storm.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • Cherryl Chow

    I loved it! Really alive and engaging.

  • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

    this morning wrote a story based on raindrops for my son. I know I shouldn’t do his homework! Amazing that your prompt is similar, thanks Joe, here’s a little bit of it:

    It was the rain I missed most. Growing up in Ireland you certainly got used to the soft days, the showers, the heavy downpours and torrential rain. I remember one summer; I must have been ten or eleven. It rained every single day for the entire summer holiday, then the first day of term; bright sunshine.
    Sitting in the room watching raindrops fall down the window, like an ever changing waterfall, I remember that. The wind, there was always wind, would drive the rain against the window panes. The panes themselves would shudder and moan. They were the old type, two halves and a sash cord to raise them up or down, only one fixing in the middle. Designed to last, designed before house burglary became an occupation for so many, but they did like to groan.
    The house was, I remember, fond of talking. Floorboards creaked as you stood on them, doors whined as you opened and then exhaled when closed. Tiles on the roof thought they were in a rock band, pounding rhythms with the rain, thrashing out da-dum,da-dum, da-dum. Presses and cupboards held their own secrets; moths, insects and spiders all vying to be top-dog of whatever press they were in.
    Up the creaky stairs and along the corridor was the bathroom. For a young curious lad the bathroom held the most appeal. In the twilight, silverfish roamed the tiled floor, woodlice snuck out of the skirting board and made a dash for the underbelly, the dark side of the bath. Once I counted four different kinds of mould and fungi growing in the damp humid conditions, black mould on the walls, a turquoise growth in the corner of the bath. Under the sink was a platform, hewn from fresh timber for the ‘smallies’ in the house but it had aged and in the clammy dank darkness of the bathroom and had grown orange and yellow curly foils of fungi. My brother, the daft one, wanted to eat them but then he would eat anything; charcoal, turf, the dog’s dinner. He was always so hungry and so painfully thin.

    • http://www.bethszimmerman.com/ Beth Zimmerman

      Ooooh … that ended in a hard place! I wanted to know more!

      • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

        thanks Beth, it was heading off planet but ended up in the desert on earth.

    • Marianne Vest

      What a weird old house. I love the details here. They are strange and new to me which makes them very interesting.

      • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

        Marianne, have rattled around many many of these old house, you need damp rainy weather with plenty of wind to get the house to talk. Wonder if that is why thunderstorms in horror movies as they reach “The House” !!!!

        • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

          oh and the mould and funghi – welcome to my bathroom and kitchen. Do you have damp in US?

          • Marianne Vest

            It’s damp where I am in Virginia most of the time but not like in Britain. We have dry spells. They say the northwest coast Oregan and Washington are the best to grow roses because it’s the most like Britain.

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    It’s been too long since I’ve come over to learn and play. Between out of town guests and leaving town myself there’s been no time to do more than sneak an occasional peak. I had a few moments and “thunderstorm” captured my imagination!

    Thunderstorm:
    Too many days I feel as if I dance and sway in a land between storms. The far off fragrance of water draws my nose up to sniff the sky; longing for the refreshing it promises. But usually the dust of hours covers weary toes and feet. Every day moments, an offering of trust, start to wear heavy on my shoulders and I long for a deluge of promise.

    Early in the morning, before the dawn has pierced the heavy sky, I creep from covers and pray for rain. I pray for my children to grow up strong under the the cloud of grace. I pray for my own heart to be a downpour of love. I pray for the little orphans that regularly fill my mind to be washed clean and pure by showers of mercy. The rain washing away their scars and watering little roots in need of nourishment. I pray for forgiveness to strike relationships like a lightning bolt and hearts in need of freedom to dance in childlike joy under a sky bursting with compassion.

    Thunder rolls and majesty shakes the air around me. These storms are holy times. A reward for walking in faithfulness. I run out to the pelting rain and lashing wind. The sky splits open in glory and I brave the electricity of a Presence I cannot control.

    • http://www.bethszimmerman.com/ Beth Zimmerman

      Beautiful! Reminds me of a description of Aslan (from Chronicles of Narnia) where one of the children commented that He was not a tame lion but He was very good!

    • http://bikerider.Writing.Com/ Angelo Dalpiaz

      What a wonderful heart-felt prayer. Descriptive and filled with compassion.

    • Marianne Vest

      That’s beautiful Beck and it’s wonderful to see the power of a storm as a benevolence. You’re writing is very unexpected and refreshing.

    • Lisa Conrad

      I loved the line, The far off fragrance of water draws my nose up to sniff the sky; longing for the refreshing it promises.
      I absolutely know what that feels like. Beautiful.

  • akaellisfisher

    In the southeast, we had summer thunderstorms every day at 4 o’clock. I believe the world clock is set by them. Black shrouded clouds would sneak in the back door, turn off the light, soak the place for 6 minutes, then leave without even a good bye. Now, though, I am in the west, and the sky is wide open. You can see a storm coming from counties away.

    From my current vantage point on the ridge, I can look out the wall-size windows of my office building, one wall facing west, one wall facing north, and watch the storm clouds invade the valley. They always come from the west. And technically, I don’t have an “office.” It’s a row of cubicles that line the windows, and I don’t even sit in one of them.

    I live my corporate life surrounded by my own personal storm and four soul-numbing gray walls. I have to rely on the commotion around me to know when rain is coming. It’s easy though. The snarky and malicious office gossip sits by the west-facing window. She let’s everyone know EVERYTHING (true or not) and makes sure there’s always a storm brewing. Sometimes a storm warning means rolling up your car windows. Most of the time it just means you need an umbrella to protect yourself from the oncoming assault.

    Today there’s a huge mountain-range-to-mountain-range storm front racing up the valley like a giant tsunami. The gossip springs into action. “Look, look! A storm coming!” Like the Avon lady, she goes door to door delivering the news. Interestingly, everyone in the west is fascinated by rain. People morph from behind more gray walls to watch the front, childlike in their awe. The streaky gray water wall pushes forward. Impressively fast. Sharp thunder cracks, snarky gossip lady starts talking. Impressively fast. It’s something about someone. I don’t linger — One never knows if one might get hit by lightening. Since my car windows are already up, I retreat for the safety of my umbrella.

    • http://www.bethszimmerman.com/ Beth Zimmerman

      Never thought of comparing office gossip to an impending storm but it’s an excellent analogy! Been struck by lightning a time or two myself!

      • akaellisfisher

        Thanks, Beth!

    • Allysahn

      I spent my first seven years in northern Ala and I agree, in summertime, you can set your watch for 4 o’clock for the rain, sometimes thunder and sometimes a tornado warning along with it.

    • sue

      Very interesting analogy! LIke it! :)

  • http://www.bethszimmerman.com/ Beth Zimmerman

    We had picked our grandchildren up that morning in San Angelo, Texas to bring them home to Tulsa with us. My husband had driven over halfway but now he was tired and wanted me to drive. We pulled over at a McDonalds nestled between the east and west bound lanes on 44 to switch drivers. As I pulled the car back onto the highway the kids were playing happily in the back seat and Bert wedged a pillow between his shoulder and the window so he could catch a quick nap. When our speed reached the 75 mph speed limit, I flicked on the cruise control and settled back for a boring ride.

    A moment later rain came out of nowhere, as it frequently does on these southwestern plains. I was reaching to turn on the windshield wipers when the car began to spin. We were hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The kids began screaming in the back seat. My husband sat bolt upright and began yelling at me to do something but I couldn’t understand what. The car flew in quick circles between the cement walls of an overpass and down a grassy embankment. We finally came to shaky rest against an old barbed wire fence at the bottom of a hill, pointed the opposite of the direction we had been traveling.

    We all sat there, sobbing, praying, thanking the Lord for our lives, looking out at the pouring rain and the greenest grass ever. It seemed to me that angels must have kept our car from flipping. No one disagreed with me. As the rain faded gently away my husband and I got out of the car, into the wet grass, to trade seats again. There was just enough room between the driver’s door and the fence for us to squeeze through. Looking back up the hill we were amazed to see no tire tracks. We had flown, upright, in crazy circles, from a usually busy highway, without hitting anything. Other cars. Cement walls. Barbed wire fence. The rain had more impact on our surroundings than we did.

    Bert looked around and said he doubted that it was possible to just drive out of this but he would try. And he did. Even after a sudden soaking rainfall the ground was firm enough for us to make a u-turn, drive up the hill, and re-enter a stream of traffic.

    • Allysahn

      Holy tomolly! Ya’ll were watched over by angels.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Good gravy! That’s quite an experience. Storms can be so many things calming, refreshing and dangerous. Glad you all were okay and that have an amazing story to share!

  • http://www.bethszimmerman.com/ Beth Zimmerman

    Loved this prompt. Gave me a chance to write one of my favorite true stories. Living in Oklahoma, an being married, I’ve been in a number of storms like those you describe. Good job!

  • Just B

    I awake to a low rumbling in the distance, an ominous sound, foreboding, the first indication of the storm to come. I lie in bed in the dark, listening to the thunder come closer, long rolling rumbling for now. The air outside my open window hangs thick and heavy. The trees are completely still, not a hint of a breeze. The humidity is stifling. Stifling enough that I kick off the sheet. Even the lightweight cotton feels too heavy on my legs. Then, within minutes, flashes of heat lighting appear on the horizon, a quick, sudden burst, briefly illuminating the long, low bank of menacing blue-gray clouds moving ever so slowly in my direction. I watch, fascinated by the dichotomy of light and dark. I’m struck in the moment that it’s really kind of beautiful – at least for now.
    I’m tired, but something tells me I’d best not fall back asleep. From way back, I know that late Spring thunderstorms can turn from mild to menacing in the blink of an eye and you don’t want to get caught off guard when the mild transforms into a monster, a monster that cares not for anything or anyone in its path. It barrels ahead, pushed along by competing winds, swirling from every direction, winds that only gain in strength as it advances. I cringe, startled by a loud crack, followed instantaneously by a streak of lightning, a bolt so bright I can see the backyard in stark detail below and so close I actually feel the hair on my arms stand on end. The beast is getting angrier by the minute. I start counting. One one-thousand, two-one thousand, three – - – Crack! So close this time, the whole house actually reverberates with this clap of thunder. As the roar subsides, I hear through the open window the plop, plop of the first big raindrops. They hit the ground below and the side of the house, just a few at first, then so many so fast it becomes a cacophony of sight and sound and I’m forced to get up and close the window against the onslaught. But not before I catch the smell of outside, the smell of rain in a storm. Thunderstorms, dark and light, loud and scary. Mother Nature reminding us who’s the boss.

    • Allysahn

      You reminded me of how we used to count after seeing the lightning strike. People who grow up in some parts of California never experience that.

  • Allysahn

    I have so many thunderstorm memories. Spending the first 8 years of my life in northern Alabama, summer afternoons were likely to have a thunderstorm, especially in July. Almost all the houses in our neighborhood had basements.
    The mornings I would be dropped off at the country club swimming pool while my mom and her friends would go on up to the tennis courts to play a couple of sets before lunch. By then, I was done with swim team practice and eat a grilled cheese sandwich with a pickle for lunch. There were at least twenty of us kids of various ages that all swam and played those water games like Marco Polo and playing Follow the Leader off the diving board, both the short and tall one that was 12 ft. Pools don’t seem to have diving boards anymore; fear of lawsuits, I guess. Anyway, dark thunderheads would roll in around 4 and then it was decided where the party was going to continue (we all lived fairly close to each other). We’d get to that person’s house and all the kids would go down into the basement, while the adults started happy hour and took post to watch for tornadoes. One time one even touched down right across the street and took a several trees.
    Another thunderstorm memory is sitting just outside the sliding doors of the basement room. Some houses in the South are built into the side of a hill. This allows to have a basement, but the basement has access to the outdoors. I was about 8, still in Alabama, and sitting outside with my older cousin Bobby, who was thirteen. I remember being a little scared but exhilarated by the big thunder claps shaking the ground beneath us.
    There were not too many thunderstorms living up on Cape Cod, but when we moved to Hilton Head Island, SC there were plenty.
    Then when we later moved to central Texas, thunderstorms were frequent in the fall and spring. Where I live, you could see the line of a northern front on the horizon moving your way for hours before it would reach Austin. Many times the temperature would be a wonderful, 70s or even 80s. As the front reached us, it would get cloudy with angry clouds, sometimes it was almost dark and the wind would start howling. Within 20 minutes the temperature could drop 20 to 25 degrees, boom.

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    We arrived excited about the party. We left soaking wet. Our resolve diminished by claps of thunder. Our bodies drenched to the bone.

    It was a sleepover birthday party, camp-out combined in one night. I wanted to stay home, but with my kids, I have learned the blessing of saying “yes.” Fifteen boys were there, but I was only one of three dads.

    The party began innocently enough. Hot dogs. Cake. A water balloon fight. Boys pretending to be savages by covering their bodies with mud and pasting on leaves. It felt like “Lord of the Flies.” After S’mores by the campfire, it finally was time to finally lady down for the night.

    By 12pm the storm had arrived. We were all “sleeping” in a tree house the size of small fort. The boys up in the loft, talking their heads off, fighting off their exhaustion. The fathers in the level below wrapped up in sleeping bags, imagining a warmer, softer bed.

    The storm build gradually. A little lightening, a little thunder, a little rain. We convinced ourselves that it would pass quickly.

    Having lured us into passive acceptance, the storm suddenly grew fierce, and it was too late to run for cover. The wind howled and the trees swayed and moaned under the stress of the great force. The flashes of lightning would light up the sky like the noon day sun. The thunder rattled our chests. Then the sky opened up and the rain fell. It was as if the walls of the for were only an illusion, unable to hold back the pounding drops of water.

    Two overpowering emotions filled my soul as I lay in my sleeping bag wide awake. The storm was both beautiful and terrifying. I couldn’t stop watching the lightning, and I wanted to hide my face at the same time.

    In what seemed an eternity, but was more like 30 minutes, the worst had passed. But we were done. We packed our belongings, climbed in the car and headed home to sleep in our beds stopping at the grocery store on the way to grab donuts and chocolate milk.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Wow, I can’t imagine riding out a storm in a tree house! What parents will do for their kids!

    • Marianne Vest

      A treehouse in a thunderstorm. I hope that was made up.

      • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

        You sound like my wife.

        • Marianne Vest

          She has my total sympathy ; )

    • Lisa Conrad

      Yes, thunderstorms are both beautiful and terrifying. Hubby and I used to run to the windows to watch the storm, then jump on each other in fear as the thunder slammed the atmosphere.

      • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

        sounds like a fun game. : )

  • Pia Klancar

    Hi everyone! I just found this site and love it. I haven’t really written anything like this before, but I always wanted to write a novel, so here is my first try. :)

    I was sitting behind my piano, slowly and quietly stroking the keys. I wasn’t playing really, but just listening to the sounds. It was a quiet morning, too quiet actually. When I opened the doors to the garden there were no sounds. No birds, no cars, no nothing. Gran went to the church so I had the house to myself. Thank God! I felt so exhausted, the last few days were just nothing I thought they’d be and talking to her was the last thing I wanted. I was hoping for a great end of this summer in the arms of a boy I thought I loved, but now, sitting alone in the living room behind my piano I felt so alone. My heart was aching and as though the sky would feel my pain and see the colors of my inner world it grew grayer by the minute, from the sunny morning I woke up to, to dark metal grey colors. It felt heavy and I could hear a low rumbling of thunder in the distance.

    I paused, leaned on the piano and watched the sky through the open doors to the garden. The wind was getting louder and the sky was almost black. I knew it was going to be a big one this time. It has been a hot summer with not much rain and it looked like it was going to hit it pretty hard this time. When the wind became colder I shivered. I knew I have to close the doors, but in a way it was so beautiful.

    I went to the open doors and let the wind blow my hair wildly; I needed to feel the force of this storm. It felt like the wind is taking away a part of the burden I carried in my soul today. I stepped out on the porch and felt the first drop falling from the sky. I just stood there, turned my face toward the sky and waited for more drops. And they came. First they were small and just a few, but in one moment the clouds just released their burden at once and it started pouring down. I fell to my knees and started crying wildly. It felt like Heaven is helping me clean my soul of this huge burden. I don’t know how long I was outside. I just let my tears roll down and the rain soaked me through and through until I saw a blinding flash of lightening that brought me back to reality.

    I ran inside, feeling lighter, I changed my clothes and went back to the piano. I saw the rain slowly stopping and rays of sun were trying to break the sky. It was so beautiful, so peaceful. I could breath, I could play, I felt almost alive again.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    God was so busy pouring buckets of water all over you, he must have forgotten to serve thunder and lightning along with it.

  • http://jblearnstowrite.tumblr.com/ JB Lacaden

    Here’s my practice. I just allowed myself to have be loose and have fun while I was doing this. Hope you enjoy :)

    —-

    The ball hit all ten. CRRAAAAASH! All ten pins went down. The ball sunk into the dark hole, rolling, rolling, trying to make its way back to me again. Behind me, I heard the crowd cheer. I turned around and I saw Luke walking towards me, his hand raised waiting for a high-five. I smiled at him and gave him a wink. “We’ve got this in the bag.” SLAP! Our hands met in the air.
    On the other side, Matthew stood up. It was his turn to bowl. I sat down and grabbed my cup of coke and took a sip. Cold raced down my throat and to the pits of my gut. “Game ain’t over yet,” Matthew said to our side. He walked and grabbed his ball—dark, shiny, with a big M painted on its face. He grabbed it and aimed for the ten, white pins standing unawares. He took one step, two, three. He raised the ball and let it roll. Rolling. Rolling. CRAAAAASH! Eight fell down. Two remained standing—unhurt, untouched, a huge space in between them. I heard Matthew tsked. “It’s all right man,” I heard Abariel say. Michael clapped his hands and whistled. “Come on Matthew. You got this.” He said. I took another sip of the cold cola. Matthew grabbed his bowling ball. He aimed. He let it roll. It hit one but spared the other. Another tsked.
    It was our turn—Luke’s turn. He stood up and our team cheered. “MVP on his way,” Luke smugly said. He grabbed the white bowling ball. In front of him, all ten pins were being re-arranged. “Go Luke!” I shouted. “Visualize yourself as the ball. Go for strike baby.” Ardouisur, Luke’s girl, said from beside me. Luke gave her a wink. He then stood in front of the pins. Bowling ball raised, he did his trademark footwork. Swing of the hand. It’s all in the wrist, he used to say. The ball was rolling fast. Strength was clearly placed into the roll. Light flickered. The impact was too great it gave off a flash of light. CRRAAAAAASH.

    ***

    Abigail looked at the sky—her face drenched by the endless pouring of the rain. She sighed as she walked, umbrellaless, underneath the dark, fat clouds. “I hate the rain.” She uttered. Not long after, the sky blinked. Lightning flashed. “We all know what’s coming next.” CRRAAAAAAASH, came the thunder. Abigail’s walking turned into a jog as she hurried off to the bus stop.

    • Marianne Vest

      I really hear in this the similarity between the sounds of bowling and of a thunderstorm. That analogy could lead much further. Well done JB!

  • http://bikerider.Writing.Com/ Angelo Dalpiaz

    Sometimes the rain can bring sad thoughts.

    My eyes flutter open to a room still dim with the dark of a night that has already passed. The clock says seven-thirty, but the only light I see is the silvering of the window around the tightly pulled shade. I reach over and place my palm on the crumpled bed sheets; their coolness makes me shudder, their emptiness makes me cry.

    This is the first morning that I will not rise to make her breakfast, set out her blue and white pills. It is the first morning in so many mornings of my life that I will not wake to kiss her cheek. I pull the blanket higher against my chin and turn my head to her side of the bed. Her glasses are still resting on the nightstand, no longer needed. The small Bible that she read to me at night before we closed our eyes and snuggled into each other is still there, open to Psalms, her favorite place in the Bible.

    #

    As I sit at the table with my coffee the wind howls past the windows. The grumble of an approaching storm shakes the rafters and the cat runs to safety under the bed. I sit alone and listen to the slow dance of rain on the roof turn to a steady drumbeat. The window trembles with flashes of light as a curtain of water falls past the window.

    Then I hear it. The sound of the rain taps against the window as if someone is throwing handfuls of pebbles against the panes. I remember the night we eloped, so many, many years ago, when I tossed handfulls of pebbles against her bedroom window to wake her so we could make our get-a-way to bliss.

    I walk to the door and open it, look out to see if anyone–she–is there, throwing pebbles against the glass, to wake me so we can make our get-a-way to bliss.

    But no one is there but the steady fall of rain drops.

    • Wanda Kiernan

      A very melancholy story. I especially liked how you compared the sound of the raindrops to a handful of pebbles and remembered, at least for a moment, a happier time.

    • Marianne Vest

      Angelo this is beautiful as usual. It’s very sad but very much something that most of us will deal with either as the one hearing the pebble or the one throwing them. Thanks

    • Shane Fitzpatrick

      Very evocative Angelo. Very wistful – a very good piece of writing.

  • Wanda Kiernan

    The other night the rumbling thunder was none stop. It kept rolling across the midnight sky like a convoy of 18 wheelers cruising down the highway. It sounded like it was hundreds of miles long. I could hear the approaching thunder bump into the rumbles that were right over my house, and then move along into the distance; waves of sound ebbing and flowing. Intermittent bolts of lightning lit up the heavens revealing heavy thunder clouds moving fast across the stormy sky.

    The sheets of rain beat down hard against the pavement, the thick raindrops ricocheting in all directions. The trees swayed in the strong wind looking as if they were trying to shake off the rain like a dog shaking the wetness from his fur.

    The rumbling thunder, the bolts of lightning, the pounding rain, and the whistling wind were getting into my head making me feel disoriented and anxious. I wanted the rumbling to stop, even for just a minute so that I could get my bearings. I was home and I was safe, but the cacophony was getting under my skin. I couldn’t stop looking out of the window at nature’s rage, fascinated but hoping it would end soon.

    • http://calebmcnary.com/ Caleb McNary

      Wanda, I love the imagery of the highways. It makes me think that before their were trucks and highways, storms were the herald of the sounds of the age to come.

  • http://louisesor.wordpress.com/ Louise Sorensen

    I’d like to know what happened with the argument after the storm. I take it your hands were glued to the wheel during. The story is delightful and well done, but feels unfinished.

  • http://calebmcnary.com/ Caleb McNary

    We have a walnut tree in our back yard. It is as massive as it is ancient. It is the kind of tree that people look at the first time and just get lost in the intricacies of the branches. The weight of it. It’s base is almost dead center of our yard, but its canopy dominates our skyline. In the summer it is a blessing, as it provides constant shade to almost the entire yard. It holds humidity, too. You swim in the ecosphere that the tree creates. It feels as if a thunderstorm could develop over its western reaches, and race northeast to our back door.
    When thunderstorms start to form on the other side of Wichita, the walnut knows. It offers quiet homage to the pending storm, doing what it can to warn of impending danger, and usher the tempest that will give it life sustaining water.
    The spring storms race up the turnpike, knowing that one of its destinations is our walnut. It is the equivalent of a tourist trap for severe weather. It has been welcoming storms on behalf of our town for decades. The wind sheers race to greet our walnut, pruning the weak branches that weaken its dominance. The tree is careful to direct fallen branches away from the house. A sort of pact that was made between the people who planted the tree in times past, promising to nurture the tree to maturity in return for protection from the sun and falling limbs.
    When the outflow winds pass and the rains finally come, our walnut is both greedy and gracious, first lapping up every drop that the storm deems to give, then distributing it evenly around the yard, acting as a primitive drip irrigation system that keeps our grass green.
    The violent winds rock the upper reaches of the branches, creating a noise that is wholly other than that of the storm. People from the coast swear that it sounds like the waves crashing at the base of a rocky cape. The walnut must have come from the northeast, an envoy to offer our little Kansas neighborhood a glimpse that the symphony of the ocean that it heard when it was just a nut, a memory of its birth.
    When the storms pass, the walnut moves of its own accord, like a couple dancing after the song ends, happy that it was able to make an acquaintance with the passing pressure system, and happy that it was deemed worthy to meet another in the future. The leaves eventually surrender every drop of water collected, and once again builds the humidity necessary to continue weaving its dreamlike cocoon. Ready for another go.

    • Marianne Vest

      How beautiful! I makes me miss our two oaks which were taken down last year because they were too close to the house. I miss them.

  • Lisa Conrad

    Thunderstorm

    Two white-haired old men, face to face, grimacing.
    Grumbling, angry. Mumbling under their breath.
    Back and forth, over and over again. Posturing occasionally.
    Turning black with darted words, spittle flying.
    Screaming, out of control, throwing lightening bolts at one another.
    Spent, moving along, still disagreeing.

    • Marianne Vest

      What can I say? I really like this. I love the way these words progress and the word choice is particularly good with “grimacing, grumbling, angry. Mumbling under their great.” The alliteration and rhythm are great.

  • Sue

    It was coming, and she knew it. The threatening clouds had hung over the horizon too long for her to not know. The cold shoulders, the cool way their eyes never seemed to be able to meet, the hearty outbursts when she wasn’t there and the awkward silences when she was… Sooner or later, the storm would break over the their friendship, and all her hard work would come pouring down like sheets of rain, amidst flashes of cynical anger and growls of stored-up dislike. It would drain every bit of love and warmth she desperately tried to hold in her cupped, outstretched hands, and she would be left with nothing.
    When she thought of it, her heart twisted in anguish. She was trying hard, but things were slipping out of her control like a slippery eel. There was a resigned sadness in her expression as she waited—waited for the day to come to an end, waited for the last day to roll around, waited for everything to be brought to nothing after that. The clouds were growing darker, she noticed. Better take in the clothes before the wind gets too strong.
    She reflected on how the winds of gossip had snatched her friend right out of her reach. Then she remembered something—she was guilty of gossip too. And she hung her head feeling worse than before. Was it all her fault? Was this just punishment?
    There it came now, the rain, pouring out of the black clouds with an angry whine, the unrelenting winds slapping raindrops in her face. Somehow, these raindrops seemed different, totally unrelated to the gentle raindrops of summer happiness.
    She did not remember how long she stood there, watching the flashes of lightning, listening to the sharp cracks of thunder, her face getting colder and wetter by the minute. After what seemed like an eternity, the incessant rain slowed down. The growling of the thunder ceased, and the lightning was replaced by the last rays of evening sun.
    And then, as if the heavens had opened and a voice had spoken to her audible ear, she heard deep inside her heart, a message of hope: “The thunderstorm ahead may be a bad one, but take courage, after the storm, will come the calm.”

    • Marianne Vest

      I like how your image become more abstract as you move along but I think it might diminish the intimacy of the argument which would be good for a poem but maybe not so good for a short story.

  • Marianne Vest

    I cut this back from something I’d written to make it short enough to post here. Dale is an older woman who has moved to the country to evaluate her life so far. She has found it peaceful until the first storm. The storm presages several events that are going to wreck havoc with her peaceful life in the country.

    She heard the first thundestorm roll in early one afternoon with thunder that boomed louder and longer by the minute and lightening that seemed ever closer and brighter. She rushed to close the widows and to make sure her old cat was inside. She couldn’t find the cat.
    She held the door open and called “kitty, kitty, kitty, here kitty”, but no little face appeared. The sky was slate gray and darkening quickly. She worried. The cat had always lived inside in the city. Would she be able to find shelter outside in a storm.
    Suddenly the spirit of adventure, that had led Dale to move to the trailer in the country left her. She just felt stupid. She’d let her cat, who had been by her side without complaint for years, outside where she wouldn’t know what to do.
    The wind yanked the storm door out of Dale’s hand and slammed it against the side of the trailer. Rain started with on and off splatters. It had the rhythm of a machine gun from an old gangster movie. Then with a whoosh and a flash of lightening water poured from the sky. Her cotton shirt and shorts were soaked in seconds, but she still stood there calling her cat, and she started crying. She couldn’t save the cat.
    She was afraid to move further into the yard but disgusted with the travesty of shelter that the flimsy trailer offered. She left the door open and went inside. Rain flew in though the open door puddling on the floor and spattering on the legs of the coffee table. The curtains flapped in the wind.
    She heard a mew and turned to see the cat in the hall. The cat was looking at the open door with a concerned experssion.
    “Did you know it was coming?” said Dale.

    • Lisa Conrad

      Aw, isn’t that the way with animals? Kitty was all tucked away, after all. Doesn’t that just make us feel stupid? Believe me, been there.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WZKDO466CHWJRGGJ25MCJDKWLY V O

    Lauren was sitting at her desk watching the cursor blink on her screen. “Why is writing such a chore today?” she thought to herself. She glanced out of the window behind her desk. It looked a bit cloudy, but living in Arizona taught her not to keep her hopes up for rain. “Maybe I’ll go outside and write.” She gathered her things and headed to the back door. When she stepped outside a cool breeze caressed her face as it made its way through her backyard. She could smell the rain in the air. “Maybe Arizona will let us have some rain” she said aloud to herself. She sat down in one of her lounge chairs and breathed in the cool air. In the distance, she could hear the thunder rolling. The sky was a bit cloudy, but the sun was still shining. She closed her eyes and listened to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees and the birds chirp happily. Even though it was summer, the temperature was abnormally cool. The weather was perfect. She took a deep breath. “Yup…definitely rain” she thought. She loved the smell of rain. It was like a mixture of water and dirt. With her eyes still closed, she felt a drop of rain hit her nose. It was sizable. As soon as she brushed it way, another hit her forehead. She opened her eyes to see that the sky had dramatically changed. It was now a deep shade of grey, and the sun was no longer visible. Before Lauren knew it, the rain started to come down in sheets. She scurried to get out of the rain. She stumbled over the water hose and dropped everything in her hand. The rain was coming down so hard she was in a sheer panic as she raced to pick up her things. By the time she made it inside, she was almost drenched. Just as she shut the screen door, a crack of thunder boomed. She smiled to herself. “Man, I love Arizona rain” she said to herself. With the smile still on her face, she put her things down and went to dry off.

  • Oddznns

    I love the accuracy of the description Joe. This is exactly what happened to us when we drove from Memphis (different kind of music) to Huntsville Alabama.

  • Shane Fitzpatrick

    It started as a rumble. The lights flickered on and off. Rocky woke from his slumber beside the fire and growled at nothing, or so I thought. I continued to eat my dinner for one with the only other noise in the room being that of the clock ticking by. Then as if a heavy articulated truck went by the house, the ground shook. Rocky growled once more. The clock chimed as the hour struck. The tree started to sway in the front garden as the wind picked up.
    The story of how my grandmother explained how God sends us thunderstorms somehow clicked in my mind. “He’s just rolling oil barrels across the sky,” she’d say. She could never explain the lightening though.
    The lights dimmed this time for approximately two seconds, and then the rumble sounded like it was just overhead. The rain started to fall, lightly at first. I paid no heed and hungrily ate.
    Then the rain started pelting off the window beside me. The sky changed to a blue-grey colour. The last thing I remember was pushing the soggy broccoli around my plate before the golf ball sized hailstones burst through the window and glass lacerated my cheekbone. I struggled to move away before the real disaster struck.
    I woke up in A&E with a broken arm, cuts to my face and neck. Rocky escaped without any injuries, thank God. But my home was ruined. As I moved away from the front window from the hailstones, the tree was struck by lightening and crashed through the front of the house. It missed me by inches.

  • Shane Fitzpatrick

    It started as a rumble. The lights flickered on and off. Rocky woke from his slumber beside the fire and growled at nothing, or so I thought. I continued to eat my dinner for one with the only other noise in the room being that of the clock ticking by. Then as if a heavy articulated truck went by the house, the ground shook. Rocky growled once more. The clock chimed as the hour struck. The tree started to sway in the front garden as the wind picked up.
    The story of how my grandmother explained how God sends us thunderstorms somehow clicked in my mind. “He’s just rolling oil barrels across the sky,” she’d say. She could never explain the lightening though.
    The lights dimmed this time for approximately two seconds, and then the rumble sounded like it was just overhead. The rain started to fall, lightly at first. I paid no heed and hungrily ate.
    Then the rain started pelting off the window beside me. The sky changed to a blue-grey colour. The last thing I remember was pushing the soggy broccoli around my plate before the golf ball sized hailstones burst through the window and glass lacerated my cheekbone. I struggled to move away before the real disaster struck.
    I woke up in A&E with a broken arm, cuts to my face and neck. Rocky escaped without any injuries, thank God. But my home was ruined. As I moved away from the front window from the hailstones, the tree was struck by lightening and crashed through the front of the house. It missed me by inches.

  • ee

    I wish, I pray for thunderstorms. Winter is long and grey and feels like eternity. We are elated over the appearance of mallards and robins. My daughter end was startled by a patch of green grass next to a mound of snow. It’s 35 degrees and the kids wear shorts and refuse to wear coats while they stand there shivering. It thundered in the middle of the night a few days ago and we all sighed, thinking perhaps it was over. Could spring really be here?

  • liz

    monsoons. even the word is sexy and the desert dwellers animal vegetable and mineral take advantage of each crackle, each boom to make wet sloppy loud love.