Feb 13th, 2008

I Woke Last Night to the Sound of Thunder

But there was no need to wonder how far off, because the windows were open and we could smell the sizzle and ozone. Lightning! Thunder! Pounding rain! I love Florida weather.

When I was in college, my dorm had a patio between the two wings, so even though it was on the 7th floor, and open, it wasn’t exposed. It faced east, and late at night when the thunderstorms would roll in from over the bay, I’d go out on the patio and sit in the cool and the mist and watch G*d’s own light show. Those are some of my fondest memories of the University of Miami. It wasn’t the same campus as it is now. There were more open spaces, and yet, less landscaping and lushness. The coral pit over by the art department was surrounded by banyan trees, and filled with ferns. Rumor had it that satanic rites took place down there, but the truth was it was just a great place to smoke dope between classes. If you didn’t mind the mosquitoes eating you alive down in the cool, damp shade.

In the past couple of years hurricanes wreaked depredation on the pit, and now it is a sunny, albeit sunken, rock garden with a park bench. The enormous royal poincianas were also taken down, and the old wooden art department is itself an empty and condemned hulk. Sad. The hours and hours I spent in darkrooms, weaving studios and the life drawing classes in that old building are the heart and soul of my college experience. The friendships I made, the professors who had the most impact on my life, they all were connected with that building.

Even my husband, the Renowned Local Artist, and I first met and became friends there. I’d go to his studio and watch him paint. We’d share books. He gave me Dahlgren, which I hated. I gave him Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which he stole.

Amazing how much memory a single flash of lightning can unleash.