What do you expect

Yesterday had been a day when you sweated standing still. Today the August storms arrived ten days early. Palms dipped and swayed close to parallel with the ground. Shallow roots held as the rain had not yet softened the sun-charred earth.

Vito looked up from his cards and wrinkled his nose: it will all be past in half an hour. The far horizon was lightening. Thunder was far away above the sea.

The cicadas were silent. A single bird sang. It could have been warning, it could have been sorrow but it sounded of triumph. And now the sky was close to half clear and the rain had stopped. Shorter, weaker gusts of wind switched the olive trees from green to silver to green again. They shone in the reappearing sun.

Vito looked up again. What do you expect, he said. It is summer. There are strangers. What do you expect.

After the thunderburst

Only eagles and adult kites could ride out these winds; and the kites with difficulty. The sparrows, prey, remain motionless beneath palm fronds, an occasional shiver and shuffle of feathers betraying their location. Slower than it had arrived with a thunderburst, the rain slows and stops, the wind calms and in the sudden silence birdsong begins to rise again. Now, before the heat sweeps back in, or the southern storm once more, now is the time to find peace, or make peace, or rest, simply rest.

The thunder landed

It almost seemed that the fireworks over the night-black sea called the lightning. It flashed white and forked and curved and split and hissing hit the sea.

Then, the time for a breath that nobody took, the thunder rolled in across the flattened waves and shook the first, steep-fronted, houses.

The thunder landed on the roof like a rockslide. The now-dead light bulb swung as the flash through the shutters side-shadowed our faces.

Night storm. Tree falls.

Night storm. Tree falls. In the morning swingball stands disdainful, tosses its haughty mane. Of a single dog-chewed tennis ball on a frayed fluorescent nylon string. Tree stays down. Lies with lime-green plastic bats on the grass-green grass. Vanquished. Drums its twigs on the neighbour’s fence. Fence tilts but doesn’t fall. Tree sighs and settles. Waits.

Based on original observation by @johnhiggs