After I moved to the Bay Area of California from Milwaukee in the 1980’s, I was struck by the diversity of people in the Bay Area. I love the diversity, which I have always known to be a strength, and I love it here. I observed that in Wisconsin, the weather was more interesting, and in the Bay Area, the people are more interesting.
And there is nothing like the storms in the Midwest, that place where winter settles in early, and leaves late – often into early May.
Yesterday morning, as I was talking to a friend via ZOOM, a flash of lightening lit the sky outside the window, and a moment later, a boom of thunder. Just like that!
Later, I remembered a time, lying in my bed in my parent’s flat, when I would listen to the storms coming – the thunder, quiet in the West, and slowly, with each boom, the thunder, louder, until it was overhead. And then it passed to the East, out over Lake Michigan. Only after the storm passed did I settle down to sleep.
On one visit to Wisconsin, my husband and I sat with friends and family in his mother’s living room in a suburb of Milwaukee. It was summer, and the heavy, humid air was bright with sunlight as we talked. We were more interested in each other until the air changed, the sky clouded over with a storm, and we heard thunder in the distance. I rushed to open the front door, so that I could smell the storm through the screen. We sat silent then, listening to storm, as we heard the thunder clap in the distant West, move overhead, and then grow quieter as it moved to the East. For a few moments, the storm was more interesting than our visitors. Having relished the change in the air, we continued to visit.
I love living in the Bay Area, this place where a rainy winter is worshipped, heartily, this place where we suffer from years of draught. I love to see the shadow of San Francisco from my windows. I love the early spring and the daffodils that begin to bloom in February.
But I’ll always miss the storms in the Midwest, booming overhead, then passing to another place.