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  • Dan Rattiner

A Violent Storm


Last Thursday afternoon, as we sat on our deck enjoying the view over Three Mile Harbor, a sudden violent half hour downpour crashed thunder and bolts of lightning over our house -- giving us only a few minutes to scurry inside. It lasted only fifteen minutes, though, and then the sun burst through and I ventured back out again with a rum and coke to take a seat in a comfortable deck chair to survey the damage, if any.


Three Mile Harbor was still there. The trees and foliage everywhere sparkled with the rain. Across the water in the two marinas, the giant white plastic cocoons slicked with the recent downpour still perched precariously on their wooden scaffolding. In a few weeks, they would hatch yachts into the water. Meanwhile, the birds swooped. The fish jumped. I leaned back, the sunshine on my face, happy to catch some rays.


Just ten minutes later, the sun suddenly vanished. It was as if a house manager has turned off the lights in a movie theatre. A chill damp wind unsettled this darkness.


The cause of all this was a small, gray, pulsating black cloud spilling over the Harbor’s far shore and now rumbling menacingly and quickly toward me. This looked like downpour part two. Directly above, high up, white clouds hung in a blue sky. But this black disturbance had come in below it to block off the late afternoon sun. At the rate it was approaching, it would be here on the deck within a minute.


Again, I scrambled up from my chair. Would it be bringing more buckets of rain and flashes of lightning? Perhaps when it arrived, a bolt will crash down and do me in before it all roars further up the hill in back of the house to disappear into the woods beyond.


I felt fear. Was I being ridiculous? I wasn’t going to stick around to find out. I walked quickly across the deck to the kitchen slider, opened it, came in and slid it closed behind me just in time.


My wife was at the stove, her back to all this.


“That was quick,” she said, without turning around.


I felt it would be safer hiding under the piano. But I said nothing. And indeed, God, seeing I and my drink had gone inside, held his fire. And then, suddenly, this thing whatever it was rumbled over the house and the sun burst through once again.


And no, I’m not going back out there.


--Dan Rattiner


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