I love autumn.

There’s something about chilly mornings and cold nights—good sleeping weather as we said when I was a kid.

Don’t get me wrong, summer is nice too. As a kid, of course summer was awesome. But the problem with summer was sleeping. Back in the day, we didn’t always have air conditioning. This wasn’t a deal-breaker but there would always be the occassional stretch of days where you’d simply lay stewing in your own juices rather than actually sleeping. Which leads to a particular thing about summer which I suspect I will always love: The late-night summer thunderstorm.

I’m not talking about your run of the mill evening summer thunderstorm. Those are a dime a dozen. They’re neat and all, but they can’t hold a candle to a late-night summer thunderstorm.

As I mentioned, I grew up mostly without air conditioning, and so I slept with the windows open. I had the “weather” corner of the house growing up. That means the normal wind, and so most storms, arrived at my corner of the house. It always started with a low rumbling in the distance. Soon I’d see some silent flashes of light. (I grew up in a house in the country, more in the woods than not. Night was dark.) Soon the rumbling would correspond to the flashes. Then, decreasing time between the flash and the boom. “14… 15… 16… rumble …four miles!” Then the rising wind in the trees, and then, finally, the wind from the downdraft of the stormfront. Scant seconds of cool wind, sometimes cold, occasionally frigid—in which case it was going to hail and storm like hell—would blow the stagnant air from the entire house. I’d stand by the window closing it inch by inch as the rain struck the screen. When the window sill was more wet than dry, it was time to close the window until the storm passed. We had a 3-foot exhaust fan in the ceiling in the hallway that could pull the air through the entire house. Someone would get up and run that fan after a thunderstorm, and it was the best air conditioning. After a while, we’d turn the fan off, and I’d lay in bed falling asleep to the raucous sound of crickets, the storm rumbling away bringing its rain and cool to the next community, and the smell of wet earth and trees.

Where was I? …oh yes, autumn.

Yes, please. :)