Someone once said “As long as we are under the same moon we’ll feel”. I beg to differ, mind you we are still under so many same things but our differences make us beautiful in our own ways. Nothing is flawed* about the Asian storm neither is the European storm any worse. Despite all that,the African storm has a quality to itself ;it’s wild.
The African storm is like a dance. It leaves good and bad in favorably equal measure. It doesn’t just pour in torrents from the skies. The storm assembles for an offensive and holds steady till you are in awe of it’s majesty.
Just yesterday I had the pleasure of witnessing the fabled storm. It was the kind of afternoon when the heat indoors forces you outside. The temperature makes you heady and you are left in a state of easy sleep and unconsciousness, drifting but rarely dreaming. At first there was just a cool breeze which was comforting and soothing as it carelessed the skin. By the time I was fully awake it was a steady gust that rattled loose iron sheets. The clouds were ominously dark and hanging heavily. By the time the flurry that precedes any impending rainfall cleared we were in a semi darkness. The clouds were looming terribly close and the rumbling was clearer.
Then came the hailstones. Heavy and loud, ricocheting off surfaces and creating an uneven layer of white. Peals of thunder and streaks of lightning were quickly curtained by the downpour. Huge drops that dug up loose soil. Within a few minutes the fields were flooded and the drops were making blotchy splashes. The runoff impeded by clusters of hailstones formed swirling pools.
The rain held steady for an hour. Within the hour the continuous monotony of the avalanche was broken by flashes of lightning that sent my younger brother screaming to his room. The flashes were closely followed by loud peals of thunder that threatened to blow eardrums. The rapidly melting hailstones coupled with the sheets of raindrops reduced visibility to a mere paces.The fog was cloudy and wavy.
And then suddenly and quite unceremoniously the rain came to a stop. In the eerie silence that followed only the rushing streams of runoff could be heard. And then tentatively doors were opened and the air was rent with orders to the excited children colkecting the hailstones.
The adults were silent and only acknowledging of the loss and damage. I was watching my mother gingerly skipping muddy pools in her backyard farm. Earlier there had been lush green vegetables where now only a few formidable onion leaves stood. The hailstones had stripped my favorite tree in the field bare. The leaves spread out underneath the ghostly branches in a colorful disarray.
My dad was lamenting the Napier Grass that was now thin strands hanging limply. The maize had suffered the same fate, our neighbor was extremely agitated at the rains. He has a habit that is so rare to find in modern times. His obsession to smoking the curved African pipe is legendary.
Tomorrow when he’s no longer in a foul mood, I wonder if he will retell me the story about his favorite pipe. He says his great-grandfather bought it in a barter exchange in Nyamasaria. Its a long tale. I now hate the storm myself but just a little bit. I loved the music it created.