Summer has finally laid down its warm, wet sponge of an atmosphere here in Kalamazoo. The days are bright, hot, and muggy, while the nights are often cut by a thunderstorm that makes the mornings cool and refreshing. As a Michigan native, I am used to the high humidity (so dense it feels like you’re walking through a sauna at times), but I also revel in the coolness of those nighttime thunderstorms that shake the skies above Kalamazoo.
I love thunderstorms and sitting on a porch, watching the clouds roll in, and listening to the collective and percussive splash of millions of drops hitting various surfaces. The lights will give an occasional flicker reminding me of Kalamazoo’s unreliable infrastructure and the age of the houses we live in.
It is storming as I write this piece. I longingly recall my summer spent in Kalamazoo when I would run through the rain to my friend’s house where he would be listening to the Detroit Tigers game on the radio in his big, quiet Victorian house. We’d share laughs and imbibe our favorite craft brews or go out on the porch to smoke. And it just rained.
I know it didn’t rain every night in Kalamazoo that summer, but I want to believe that it did. The rain makes everything quiet and it reminds me of where I grew up in the country. Living the city made me long for a swimming hole and to be able to see the stars every night, but the rain was a small consolation and a reminder that even concrete jungles need rain.
For most, the end and beginning of every school year are unbearably hot and humid, but that sticky skin and that melting make-up, unruly hair and uneven tan only lasts for a few months. During that few months, most Michiganders spend their time on our beautiful lakes or modifying winter sports into a summer version, but we’re usually fairly content, because God only knows when winter will roll around, and I think the rain is a gentle reminder of that.