“Perfect” is how many people describe the weather in San Francisco. “Monotonous” is what I call it. I grew up in Illinois and didn’t move to California until I was nearly thirty. One thing I especially missed was the dramatic summer thunderstorms of my home state.
I was back in Illinois for a reunion of old friends. It was the right season for thunderstorms, but the wrong year. There was a terrible drought: many weeks without rain and no relief in sight. I had never seen the cornfields so distressed.
A friend took me to Winnetka Beach on Lake Michigan.
“What would you like to see on your visit here?” he asked me.
“A good thunderstorm!” I said.
“You are out of luck,” my friend told me, reminding me of the drought.
Nonetheless I faced the lake, pumped my fists in the air, and with melodramatic but joyous passion cried out, “Come on, God! Give me a thunderstorm!”
Ten minutes later, huge bolts of lightning cracked over the lake from black thunderclouds that now blanketed the sky. The temperature had dropped twenty degrees. The skies opened and rain fell in sheets. We didn’t even try to protect ourselves, but just stood there, laughing, soaked to the skin.
After a few minutes it was over. We walked the couple of blocks away from the lake to where our car was parked. The streets there were completely dry.
Next day, a small article in the newspaper described the “freak storm” that had hit Winnetka Beach on Lake Michigan, dropping a half-inch of rain in ten minutes. “Mere blocks away,” the article said, “no rain fell.”