Lately I seem to go for bike rides at the strangest times. I find with the long summer days, when daylight lasts until 10:30 at night, my perception of the day is often different than it would be normally. Instead I find myself setting out on a bike ride at 10 pm, thinking to enjoy a quick half hour of sunlight with some twilight as well. But, what would have appalled my grandparents more than the lateness of my trip would probably be the fact that I left the house in a black t-shirt and shorts with no helmet as well. It struck me as funny that I had just happened to be wearing all black when I left, but being too lazy to go back and change, I set out all the same.
As I left, dark thunderclouds loomed over the West side of town, bursting with brilliant flashes of lighting. I could feel the winds picking up, blowing the cool night air past me, as the smell of oncoming rain filled the air. It reminded me of Murree and the nights when I would lie awake watching the clouds pour over the hilltops as they boomed and crashed, shaking the windows in their frames. This night, as I rode, gazing at the sky beside me I just wanted the sky to break loose. “Give me a real good storm”, I prayed, as I caught myself again spending too much time looking at the sky and not enough looking at the path below me that was getting darker by the minute.
Our town was wrapping up the week of its annual Westerner Days fair, and as I rode past the park where the events had been held for the day, I was met by all kinds of people walking back to the cars, or getting on buses, hurrying to beat the darkness and the oncoming rain. Then, turning back toward town I coasted through quiet neighborhoods and shut up houses, as the sky threw a bluish-purple light over the streets with its streaks of lightning. Only as I started to turn home did the drops of rain begin to fall, slow and scattered at first, but building in time. Thankfully I wasn’t far from home, as very quickly the rain grew harder and harder, though still sparse. In fact, I had reached my neighborhood with little more than a drop on myself, though I could hear them landing all around me on the road and roofs of the houses. Then, just before my street I had the pleasure of having a marble size drop of hail hit me right on my head, stinging like a rock. I made it the rest of the way, holding one hand over head and eyes as I pulled into the driveway, moments before the clouds burst.
By the time I had gotten inside after leaving my bike in the garage, rain was showering down from above. I kept all the house lights off. I could see the sky better that way, and I watched as huge trees nearby bent over in the wind. Occasional lightning would light up the whole backyard to reveal the thousands of drops that filled the sky and the grass that that glistened in the dark.
A prairie storm isn’t quite the same as a monsoon storm in Pakistan, but I felt that night that God made sure it got pretty close – close enough enough for me. And that evening I lay in my bed and listened the the rain continue to drench the earth below, and fell asleep happy.