A Missouri storm always announces its presence. Before the peals of thunder, the walls of raindrops, there is a presence. The air grows heavy. A silence spreads through the land before the storm, like the hushed silence that ripples through a crowd as their king steps out among them. Mosquitoes find shelter, birds cower in their nests, dogs sit like a contemplative mute. Then the wind begins, like an overture to the grand performance that is the Missouri storm. It tickles the streamers and flags that hang above closed doors and empty patios, causing them to writhe and dance against the stubborn pull of wind. Loose screen doors bang as if in protest of the coming occupation, and tree branches creak. Leaves rustle in the trees, and those that are fortunate enough to break away scramble to find shelter in ditches and storm drains.
And like a war, it begins with a sudden blast. A concussive force that shatters the heavens, reverberating through the hills and valleys, and rolls through the distant horizon. The floodgates break, and as much as it was dry, it is suddenly all very wet. Impassible sheets of water assault the earth, threatening to drown anything it can immerse. The grass, once parched from the summer sun, now grasp at the air like a sailor trapped in a sinking ship. The leaves watch from above like angels observing the fall of man. The blast of thunder is answered by another volley, each more violent than the last, each threatening to shred the skies, the earth, and all that was created. Wind hurls the rain back and forth like bullets across the fields of glory. Men and women sit huddled in their homes, in both awe and fear of the maniacal plans of a bipolar Mother Nature. Gardens kneel against the onslaught of rain and wind, keeled over like the ears of every dog, as they lay on the ground whimpering, glancing at their owners.
And like the storm began, so it ended. A slow delayed explosion, an echoing roar that fades into the silence. The raindrops surrendering, winds yielding. It’s still again, but the land is soaked as every battlefield commonly is. Yet nothing is won in this war of heavens against the earth. Instead, life is given. Lakes, streams and wells are refilled, trees quenched, fruits restored. A Missouri storm is a terrifying ordeal, but such an awe inducing, and beautiful experience.