Last night I fell asleep on the sofa (surprise, surprise) and awoke to a clap of thunder and flash of lightning. Yea! I love a good thunder storm, and they have been few and far between of late.

As I made my way up to bed, I checked my phone, and–sure enough–there was the weather alert. No tornado watches or warnings, which are very useful things, just a “bad weather is coming.” I’m sorry, but when did that come to a point that it warranted an alert? “Bad weather?” Okay, I can see that out my window. Anything else I need to know? “Take shelter.” What kind of idiot needs that advice? It is pouring down rain, lightning is turning night into day, and the thunder is loud enough to wake the dead. I’d say “get inside” is a no-brainer, wouldn’t you?

I have always loved storms. Not tornadoes, mind you, or hurricanes, with all due respect to those who have lost life and property in the path of those monsters. But the heavy, dark sky that starts in the distance and rolls in like someone is unrolling a carpet, the Olympian bolts streaking though the sky, and the distant rumbling that crescendos closer…and closer…and closer until it is right over my head–that sends wonderful shivers down my spine and makes me pause in the middle of whatever I am doing to relish its beauty and power.

Have you ever counted the seconds between the lightning and the thunder so you could tell how far away the bolt hit? Have you ever fallen asleep to the sounds of a spring storm? Have you ever seen the rain like a waterfall ahead of you and driven into it like stepping into a bathroom shower? Have you ever stood on the beach and watched dark clouds growing on the horizon, knowing you had enough time to enjoy the spectacle before seeking shelter? I have done all of these things and count them among my favorite memories.

Why does bad weather always warrant a panic attack? If it becomes truly life-threatening, send a weather alert or sound the alarm so we can get the kids to safety in the hall or take shelter in the basement. I do appreciate the heads-up when catastrophe is on the way.

But for those occasions where we are getting some much need rain with a little noise for a soundtrack, your reaction should be obvious. If you stand outside in a thunderstorm, you’re going to get wet and perhaps hit by lightning: don’t do it. Water conducts electricity: get out of the pool. Wind creates havoc on ocean and lake: dock the boat. Heavy rain is blinding: get off the road. Nature is to be admired not controlled. Use common sense and enjoy the show.

Footnote: If your cellphone battery is dead, or the power is out (no TV) take a tip from an old storm watcher: A green sky is bad. Take it seriously.

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