For the past few days here in Kirovograd, the weather forecast in the morning has been for mostly sun, with a chance of some rain. However, it has turned out to be, with the notable exception of when on Saturday it was both sun and rain at the same time, all sun and no rain. But today we had a proper thunderstorm.
While you may wonder why I find the weather so interesting, it is because it made me think about how many times I have experienced an actual thunderstorm since I have been here, and I realized – not that many. I mean, certainly it has rained, but since I have been in Kirovograd, I do not recall that many thunderstorms (save the one that occurred when I was camping last July, but that does not count since it was in Olyvia).
Another thing that made me realize that storms are rare here was the reaction of the women I work with when we heard and saw the storm. They kept the windows open but one of them, when the rain was starting, said it was raining “cats and dogs”. Nah, I said – it’s just rain. Ten minutes later, well, THEN it was raining cats and dogs…apparently Kirovograd is a pretty dry place. It is strange that I never really noticed it before now.
There is something refreshing about rain in the Spring, I was thinking when I was taking the marshrutka home (I am willing to go out in rain but to walk an hour home in it? I have my limits!). I have always liked Spring rains because they take care of the atmosphere build up, but best of all, everything is fresh afterward. After a thunderstorm, the air is cooler and cleaner, the dirt has been washed off sidewalks and streets (unless, of course, it is a dirt street, then it just becomes mud), the birds sing, and it seems that there is a fresh start to things.
Thunderstorms – proper thunderstorms – are something that I missed the five years I lived in Seattle, and with one notable exception (before today) I have missed them here too. I was never a storm chaser, but remember going out in Spring and Summer storms quite a bit when I was younger. As an adult, not so much. Living in Seattle, you cannot but help be outside when it was raining. But it was different – it was usually the drizzly type of rain, and it was cold, so you had to be out in it, but tried to be out for as little time as possible.
I am talking about going outside in a warm rain and squishing your toes in the mud, or just standing there, enjoying it. That is what I have not done in many years, and I wonder what I have been missing these past years, when I would hide inside with the windows closed instead of going out in the rain? Do we lose our ability to enjoy simple things such as that as we get older? Are we so preoccupied with other things that we forget to appreciate Mother Nature’s miracles?
A fresh start. It is what the rain brings, and it also makes me think of why I am here. A fresh start is one of the reasons I joined Peace Corps – unsatisfied with the choices I had made, career-wise, I decided on a fresh start, to put me on the path I wanted to be on but never walked. To think more about others, to do something that means more than just a bi-monthly direct deposit. I’ve been going through a time where I have been wondering what I am accomplishing here – had a bad week, basically. It happens to all volunteers. Perhaps this rain will be the catalyst for me to break out of this thinking, and keep moving forward. Perhaps not. But it made me think, and reflect, so that cannot be bad.