A friend of ours posted a picture last night showing the storm system moving across southern and central Kansas. The radar image definitely had an interesting shape; some said it resembled a dinosaur and others said “giraffe.” Its distinctive, fiery shape with elongated neck and galloping legs took me a step further. I thought it looked like a giraffe from hell.
Whatever fury the radar picture suggested or the system delivered elsewhere, the forecast fell a bit short at our place. We’re not complaining, though! I haven’t yet learned how to be disappointed about not getting seventy-mile-an-hour winds or golf ball-sized hail. We did get some drenching rain for a spell and a slight pattering of momentary hail.
As it frequently does when accumulated sticks, leaves, and hordes of whatever else the elm trees are tired of holding up falls off and clogs the gutters, water was pouring over the edges and making a mess by our porch. As I periodically do during small thunderstorms and other events when the atmosphere and hydrosphere try to merge, I decided to clean out enough of the clog to get things flowing again.
I got the utility step stool that works so well for such occasions and took an extra measure, one I usually forget in all the excitement such opportunities provide; I put on a plastic raincoat.
So here I am in the thunderstorm, with distant flashes of lightning, rolling rumbles of thunder, and great rivers of water pouring from above, standing on a metal-framed contraption, and pulling out handfuls of sticks, leaves, and hordes of whatever else from the corner intersection of the gutter.
I had just about finished when I realized I needed to get at least one more handful and a finishing swipe from the right hand side. As I reached up and twisted slightly, there was a brilliant flash of lightning and a loud boom of thunder. The mere fact that I am writing about it the next morning should be adequate proof that there was no direct interaction between me and said lightning. As to the sudden great rush of water that my gutter work released, that is a rather different story. There were all kinds of direct interaction.
Apparently, I had perfectly aligned myself, having twisted my upper body and head at the exactly proper angle to fashion an amazingly effective plastic funnel from the hood of the rain coat. It were as if someone had emptied a five-gallon bucket of quite refreshing spring water. It poured down around my neck and seemed to fill the entire interior of my rain coat down my right side. My shirt was soaked, my jeans were soaked, my socks were soaked. In fairness, I should point out that my socks were already soaked before this splendid event; I’d been shoeless throughout the entire gutter reclamation project. Just as well as it turned out.
I stepped over onto the porch, folded up the folding utility step stool and set it against the wall on the porch. I looked back to admire the improvement for which I had just sacrificed such comfort and solitude. Water was pouring over the edge of the gutter in pretty much the same spots it had been before. But at least it was falling in a slightly different pattern.
In those times when our efforts fall well short of our intended outcomes, we do well to be tolerant of our own limitations. And be grateful for soft towels and dry clothes. And, especially, for a safe place to sleep, even while the rain is spilling over the gutters.