Sturm und Drang

It's been raining around here. A lot. I can't really dress up the statement any more than that, as I'm wholly burned out on the subject. It's unusual for it to rain this much in New York any time of year, especially in June. I imagine there's a hot, humid Summer lurking above the constant cloud cover, and I'll probably wish for rain once I'm sunburned and sweaty. It just seems like for the past month and a half, we haven't had a day without rain. We've had days where it's not raining for a few hours, but it never lasts. And so, we adapt, and life goes on in New York, as it does in London or Seattle or any other locale unaccustomed to the sun.

After getting drenched at a parade last weekend, I'll endure just about anything short of hail or lightning strikes. I had lunch at the beach one day this week, sitting on a covered deck as a fine mist turned into a few scattered droplets, and of course a full downpour by the time I finished my last slice of pizza and had to begin my twenty minute walk back to the office. Ten minutes in, the rain vanished and was replaced by brutal, suffocating humidity.

On Friday night, I had to play a small procession with one of my Italian bands. As lightning danced from the ground to the clouds and between clouds, and buckets of water fell on my car, I wondered if the thing was going to be called off. By the time I got home, there was no news, so I changed into my uniform, grabbed my horn, and rolled out. A funny thing happened on the way to the gig. The rain still fell, to a lesser degree, but the setting sun was at a point below the clouds. As 8 PM rolled around, the day got brighter and it might as well have been 8 AM. It was very surreal.

Tony, our leader, was frantically waving his arms and whistling to various band members making their approach to the church from different directions. My dad, still taking a break from music, had come along for the ride, and was able to park my car while I hopped out and joined the group. We weren't late; the procession was just starting early while there was a break in the weather. After a few tunes, one of the church officials silenced us while the congregation behind us began a rosary. We occupied our time discussing current events, from Michael Jackson's untimely demise to the Tony's son's daughter getting her first two teeth. Every now and then Tony had to shush us, but what finally brought everyone to silence was the sky.

There was pink and lavender and orange and none of the edges were all that well defined on the clouds. There was an eerie red glow over all of it, and I made out various forms, from what could be the face of God in the traditional bearded old man envisioning, to just fragments of faces and more demonic shapes. None of it looked real. It was like a backlit painting in the sky. It was like the climactic showdown in Ghostbusters. I regretted that I didn't have my camera with me, but not only is it too unwieldy to carry with an instrument, there are rarely photo opportunities on gigs and it's not practical or possible to split my focus. Maybe I need a cell phone with a camera, or a smaller point-and-click just so I always have something on me.

We finished the procession without getting hit by a single drop of water. Driving home, there were a few sprinkles but mostly there was lightning in the sky, dancing from deep purple cloud to cloud. I'm not sure when Roland Emmerich started directing this part of the world, but as long as things don't get destroyed I can definitely appreciate some of these visual effects.


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