Friday, 17 September 2010

Stormy weather

For a couple of days, we have been warned that the biggest storm on the planet is making its way towards New Zealand. The size of Australia, this storm has promised severe wind and weather conditions up and down the country - bad even for Wellingtonians, who are used to being blown around a bit.

We waited. We got a bit of rain. The sun came out. It was fine. And then the storm hit at lunch time. Cool!

I seemed to be the only one in my office actually excited by the storm. I counted the seconds between the lightning and thunderbolts (the storm was practically right above us at one point!) and looked out the window at the hail pelting the cars in the car park. I jumped out of my chair and whooped in delight at one particularly long flash of lightning but looked around the office to see everybody else with their heads down, hunched over their computers and pounding away at 'important' work. Is nobody else excited by thunder and lightning?

I realise that storms aren't everybody's idea of a fun day. Let me qualify my love of thunderstorms by saying that they are great when I'm safely inside, warm and dry, and in no risk of damage. Today's storm (I'm not sure if it's finished yet) is a great example.

As a teacher, I spent more than my fair share of time in a classroom with around 30 youngsters during wet and stormy weather. I remember one particularly bad storm. Most of my class of 7-8 year olds had their noses pressed up against the window watching the rain drive down and counting the seconds between the lightning flashes and thunder bolts. Some were less interested and a few were a little scared.

One 8-year-old boy was absolutely terrified. Having spent the first six years of his life in a Russian orphanage after being abandoned by his gypsy mother in the snow one night, wrapped only in a blanket, he had experienced horrors beyond what most of us could ever imagine. The sound of thunder conjured up memories of army tanks for him; I don't know why, and he couldn't explain it to me. I just knew that his terror was real, even in the safety of his school on the other side of the world. He and I spent many storms huddled on the floor while he shook, sobbing in my arms.

And now the skies are blue and the wind has died down, although the temperature has noticeably dropped and I can see the clouds regathering. Did the weather bomb hit you, or is it still on its way? Does that scare or excite you (or neither)?


Kelly said...

I got home from work tonight at 9pm - just in front of the storm hitting Hamilton. I'm a complete wuss and HATE storms with a passion so I am sitting here completely terrified, even more so than usual because I am home alone for the weekend so there is no beloved to curl up with. The hail sounded like a machine gun on the windows and the thunder made the cat lose his fur! I HATE STORMS!

PS - how have your first few days at your dream job been? :-)

Café Chick said...

The new job is awesome. :-D
I love being back in an area where I have so much experience and can use my skills. It's also very energising to work with colleagues and management who are on a similar wavelength. And the best part is that the work I'm doing is my whole job, and not something I've always had to do on top of a full-time teaching load. Yay!

Dawn said...

Completely Exciting!!!!!
I too love a good, loud storm...especially when I know I don`t have to go out in it!