First Lightning of the New Year: Everyday Magic, Day 925

Spring doesn’t bounce in for months as a long-term resident at the inn we call Kansas. Instead, it struts its stuff in flashes, quite literally right now, like a famous actress who does occasional cameos in February and especially March, and sometimes on rare evenings even in January before vanishing suddenly for the main actors of snow, ice, and mostly cold, dry wind.

The thunder comes rumbles to east, the lightning flashes irregularly in the southwest corner of my window, and the air is full. I open the door and inhale that sweet sense and scent, just on the icy edge of the cold front on the other side of these storms. Today, it was positively balmy, in the low 60s even with no hint of how the temperature would start is slow fall from grace tonight. Tomorrow, there’s snow on the hoof, and I’ll likely be shivering in my big, down coat while frantically searching for where I put the mittens.

That’s the way of Midwestern winters and weather. Earlier this month, we had days we were thrilled to get out of the minuses, and today as I walked quietly out to the compost pile to throw out all our old banana peels, coffee grinds, and carrot nubs, I marveled at the slim crescent of moon in air that could be imported from April.

Right now the quiet fills in the long space between winter thunder and the slim purple flash of lightning, the first such storm of this year, but one that will become a one-woman show held over for many spring nights, reminding us these supposed four distinct seasons are approximations of general curves on the wild wheel. Now it turns brilliant, now it turns to ice, always traveling us back to a moment that defies easy naming.

Lightning Bolt In Rearview Mirror: Everyday Magic, Day 267

After rushing home with the three boxes of flowers to plant — bought on whim (as always for me each April, inevitably propelled by the promise of a big storm) — and then getting the flowers into the beds around the house and trying unsuccessfully to scrub the dirt out from under my fingernails, I moved quickly through a litany of little errands. The last of these was to drive back to town to pick up Forest, the first big drops of rain hitting the windshield. I turn right onto Hwy. 458, looked ahead, glanced and the rearview mirror, and there it was: a single stand of lightning, pouring down at, well, the speed of light.

I kept driving, but told myself about the storm as well as about the big bright green, alighting on every branch except for those ones heavy with redbud blossom, “See this.” Spring comes at such a heartbreakingly fast pace, and always during a crazy-busy time, that in a glance, it’s suddenly summer. Yet right now, at this moment the next day when the rain brings out the resonant color of all new growth, it’s right here. Don’t miss it.