The clouds rolled in early this afternoon, high and dark, without much of a wind, but with tremendous drama. I had just enough time to take Duncan out for a quick walk before the thunder and lightning started right overhead. We ducked inside and while I turned on the fans, cranked the stereo up high, and slipped him into his Thundershirt, the rain started. It was not a shy rain, but came suddenly and with great force, turning the day into dusk, scenting the air with that lake smell I miss from my days in Chicago. Dunc put on a brave face, staying close and not hiding, but making sure I was always close enough to touch. It rained and thundered for an hour or so and then was gone. The skies opened up, the air became muggy, and afternoon slipped quietly into evening. Duncan and I sat on the patio, he snoring while I read for a few hours, and all seemed right with the world.
And then it started again. This time the lightning was much lower and closer, the thunder shaking the apartment. There was little I could do to drown out the rumble, so I cuddled with Roo on the couch and slipped him treats and praise for as long as he could stand it. While I straightened the apartment he seemed busy darting back and forth between the living room and the bedroom on a hurried and secret mission. He vanished as the storm reached its peak, the rain roaring, the flowers hanging from my patio swaying in the wind, lightning somehow making the daylight even brighter. When I finally went to investigate I found him in the bedroom, his nose tucked under my bed. In days past he took great comfort in crawling under the bed, his belly rubbing the carpet, his tousled head occasionally bumping against the underside of the box spring. The arrival of my new bed several years ago put an end to that as it was much too low for him to crawl under. Since then he's contented himself with squeezing his nose and a paw or two under it. It's not much but it makes him feel better.
While I'd been preoccupied with weekend chores he'd been busy between thunderclaps collecting his friends and hurrying them into the bedroom where he could cuddle with them and wait the storm out. I curled up next to him, stroked a paw, and whispered encouraging words into his ear. He stayed there long after I left and didn't come out until the storm had passed.
As I sit on the patio again, the sun long since set, the crickets and night critters chirping, the wind is picking up again. The leaves on the Lindens and cottonwoods are brushing against each other, trying their hardest to sound like the waves I miss on Lake Michigan, and I can see flashes of lightning in the north. Dunc will most likely sleep on the bed with us tonight, and that's just fine. Sometimes we all need a little extra help to make it through the difficult times.