It has been a rough twenty-four hours for Duncan. Leaving work last night I saw the black skies above Littleton and knew he was home, huddled in the dark of the bathroom, panting and pacing in circles as the thunder cracked the sky outside. I hurried as fast as I could but when I got home the worst of seemed to have passed. He was glad to see me so we went on a walk until the shadows darkened the sky and the raindrops began to come down, big and warm, evaporating on the hot sidewalk almost as soon as they touched. The clouds to the south billowed up miles tall, bigger than mountains, and almost as soon as we were safe inside the storm began again in earnest. I turned on the television, pulled the blinds, slipped Dunc into his Thundershirt, gave him some of the Valerian Root drops Chelsea at Hero's Pets recommended and distracted him with a good game of tug on the stuffed frog he loves so much, the one that used have arms and legs and eyes.
The storm was bad, especially south and east of here, where they always seem to go on Summer evenings. I stood on the patio watching the sky ignite, listening to the continuous thunder as each veiny branch and limb of the trees was illuminated by the lightning. An hour or so later I fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake again until 12:30, when, it seems, all of Denver woke up. At first I didn't know what was happening, only that Winnie, Pip and Olive were fighting for a place on my chest as they leaned into my face, all three staring intently at me, their whiskers ticking my chin and cheeks. Duncan was whining and climbing onto the couch next to me. The TV was loud and the blinds were closed so I jumped up, opened the patio doors and stepped out into the most incredible storm I've ever seen in Denver.
The thunder was loud and unending, each blast bleeding into the next so that the night sounded like a freight train was passing over it. The lightning was constant, so much so that I daresay I could have read my Kindle comfortably in the flashes. The rain was heavy and loud, coming down in solid sheets, slapping the pavement and pooling up until the parking lot looked like a lake. And then it began to hail, big rocks of ice that pelted the windows and drove me indoors. The cats and Dunc stayed close on my heels, following me from room to room as I checked the windows. Duncan was far more anxious than he would have been without the shirt, but the storm was so loud he couldn't help but be afraid. I stood in the window and watched, fascinated, as the night exploded above us. But the strangest thing was that throughout it all, the trees, not even the big Linden outside my window, moved at all. The air was motionless except for the churning of the water and ice. There was no wind at all.
The storm had abated by 1:30, when Ken finally arrived home from work, but the rain was still heavy and the ground outside was thick with ice. I wanted to take Duncan out but he wouldn't go, so we went to bed, the cats climbing on top of us, their eyes glued to the windows where bursts of lightning continued to flash around and between the slats of the blinds.
The morning was calm and cool, and smelled sweeter than any I can remember. The creek behind the house, which only yesterday was barely a trickle, was swollen and near to reaching its banks, but the morning seemed calm and quiet. Even the birds were silent, as though afraid to move for fear that the storm would return. Duncan and I ventured across the street to the park where I expected to see branches and limbs, torn from the trees, littering the grounds. But that was not the case. Leaves, tattered by the hail, their green skins mottled and limp and reptilian, were scattered everywhere, and the last of the blossoms littered the ground in brown, gelatinous clumps, some of them sticking to patches of hail so deep it looked like snow.
The morning warmed but another band of storms began to form to the north and west of us so we have spent much of the day playing inside trying to ignore the low thunder which will continue into the wee hours of the morning. Dunc is exhausted from the anxiety, but the Thundershirt is keeping him more relaxed than those terrible days before we had one.
The sky is blue now, the birds are loud, singing a whole days worth of songs, but clouds are gathering and rising, and the storms have promised to return tonight. I'll keep close to Roo and together we'll weather it.