Forty-five Minutes of Storm

June 2000, Vancouver

The thunder rumbled across the crystal blue and white sky just as I noticed the prickles of rain on the window. A gull cried at the appropriate, dramatic moment. A wide sailboat steadily continued its course to its slip across the silver water. The crystal, pre-sunset evening turned stormy. From my desk I can see patches of that liquid blue that only exists before the sunset tinges the sky orange and red. But the clouds and mist of the heavier rain on its way across False Creek start to block it out. To the north the blue has become turquoise and the clouds moving north are grayer. The light is wonderful up here. Below me the sidewalks are gloomy already, early victims of the flannel gray of the front. The slips in the marina are full, sailboats tucked in for the evening already. Blue tarps dapple the marina.

Slowly a cruise boat, a party boat really, makes its way in across my spot of water. Then another big party boat Š Champagne Cruises reads the side Š trudges across in the opposite direction, towards English Bay. Lights are on in the party cabin. Men and women in semi-formal clothes gaze winsomely through the wrap-around windows while sipping from stemmed glassware. The thunder rumbles more frequently now. The sky is gray tinged with yellow to the south and charcoal gray with only a bit of turquoise left to the north. The rain falls steadily enough that I can see it. The wind has picked up and is flinging the fingers of evergreens about and ruffling the tops of the deciduous trees down by the Seawall.

And now the turquoise is completely gone, replaced by the dark gray of the storm front. In comes a little 20 foot sailboat piloted by a yellow slicker. And now a dragon boat zips past, its paddlers stroking strong and steady. Across False Creek traffic has turned on headlights. Runners in florescent windbreakers pace themselves down in the little piazza. Someone on rollerblades almost falls Š high-speed wheels and slick pavement do not mix.

I stare at the storm too. It overtakes me and engulfs my vision so quickly that I am fascinated by its swift power. The sky to the north is now storm-filled as well, but I begin to think I see a lighter gray beyond the storm to the south.

The purple hyacinth bush is unscathed and looks to the south. Its already starting to clear up down across the water. Bits of periwinkle and liquid blue sky are starting to show through the clouds as well. Two spots like eyes are closest, travelling north above my little room. The silvery water now is tinged with the reflection of the brighter sky. The rain has slowed. The wind has calmed. The people walking down below arenÕt hurrying about without jackets now. Looks like another sleek champagne cruise boat is going out. There are people up on deck this time too. Another deep rumble of thunder reaches me. The water is darker now with stripes and swirls of brighter shade with the current.

The evening sun is now shining across from the horizon I canÕt quite see and hitting the buildings back from the far shore. The little hill and shape of the buildings remind me of an far-off ancient city at sunset. But now the trees are in the sun too, influencing the shape of the city, taking away its desert qualities. The marina is still dark, ensconced in the darkness beneath the clouds. But now the masts are tipped in the brown-gold of sunlight. The front-most white boats are now glazed in golden light.

It will be interesting to be here for the summer storm season.

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Last modified by cce 20 April 2001