Sometimes in the summer, the lightning doesn’t arrive until two a.m. The sky is like obsidian, or black marble suddenly hewn down the center. I always think of Michelangelo. The fat, white veins. The air bristling under the action of protons and electrons. It is like a vacuum, and everything is silent.
The storms last an hour, moving slowly, fighting and flashing with the night, the bright-brilliant strikes flaring in my eyes. I watch from the front deck, the glassy shadows and fierce iridescence slashing at each other. I can’t stop watching and lean on the rail until the air returns, until the final bolt has vanished back into the black. Then I remember to breathe again.
I am usually alone, thinking about the way life works. But once after the display had ended and I’d turned to leave, I saw my father sitting in our rocker on the far side of the deck, silhouetted against the light. He’d watched the entire time without saying a thing.