A version of this piece originally appeared in our Amtrak (adventures through the South) zine, and was inspired by the countless summer storms that sought us out from Birmingham, Alabama all the way to Terlingua in Texas.

  • “The calm before the storm” is a lie. there is no calm, there is an unrelenting pressure that pushes you down into the warm dusty ground like an overbearing bully. IT is hot and humid and heavy and it sticks to your skin until you want to burst out of it. It will wrap around you until it has suffocated every bit of joy out of you and every pore will be infected with the tension that comes before a storm unleashes itself.
  •  It’s a proven fact that most decisions to divorce are made in the lead up to a storm.
  • If you are a sensitive person and you want to know if a tempest is making its way to your town there are ways to check without watching the weather forecast. – Are your knees aching? Does your head feel like someone has squished it inside a vice? Have you screamed at more than three very small children or frail and infirm elderly people today? Does your heart hang heavy and low in the cavity of your chest like a pendulum? Is the sky filled with dark clouds? A storm is coming, to be sure.
  • Pre-storm mugginess and a stomach heavy with red meat are not a good combination. If you are going to eat red meat in pre-storm weather then you better have long fingers and a poor gag reflex.
  • At any given moment there are approximately 2000 storms happening somewhere in the world. Each one is meant for one person only, you will know in your heart of hearts if the storm is yours or not.
  • If you get struck by lightning and die you automatically get into heaven even if you sinned your whole damn life. If you don’t want to get struck by lightning and die but you are stuck on a beach or a golf course in the middle of a storm then lay on your belly and whisper “help me Medardus” three times into the ground. An eagle will appear above you and protect you until the storm has passed.
  • A person can not get any super powers by getting struck by lightning, but if a dog, cat, or a goldfish gets struck by lightning and survives it will be able to speak German, read minds and lay golden eggs. If you purposely put a pet out in a storm to imbue it with superpowers then St Medard will curse you with seven years of hiccups and itching in between the roof of your mouth and the insides of your ears.
  • There is a small village in Leeds called Calverly that has never experienced a storm. Nobody knows why, and most likely nobody ever will.
  • The safest place to be during a storm is inside a small pine chest clutching onto a blue blanket with one hand and a posy of daisies in the other.
  • James Dickey once said , “A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain and hopes to get struck by lightning”. He is wrong, a person who stands outside in the rain and actively hopes to get struck by lightning is a fucking moron. A poet is the lightning.
  • If you are born during a lightning storm you will become a successful artist but you will never know how to be faithful.
  • No matter how fervently a local woman on a Terlingua porch might deny it storms have a smell. If you want to make a perfume that smells like storms you needs only three notes; ozone, geosmin, and petrichor.
  • Colpo di fulmine is the Italian phrase for when love strikes like lightning. A recent survey was carried out among couples who had celebrated a fiftieth wedding anniversary, it was found that 97% had fallen in love during a lightning storm.
  • If you see lightning but hear no thunder and it freaks you out first google whether this can happen before calling your mother at 3am to claim there’s an alien invasion happening.



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