Image, text by/COPYRIGHT 2008: Ross Care
After a prolonged visit to the Panda Buffet for lunch I slept through part of my birthday (August 14) so stayed up late watching DVDs that night. After seeing THE DARJEELING LIMITED and part of VELVET GOLDMINE I emerged from headphones to hear ominous (and real) stereophonic rumblings in the night.
At about 1.45 am a thunderstorm was rumbling across the Montalvo section of coastal Ventura. For anywhere in southern California this is unusual, almost unique. In fact, I had not heard such a racket from those little men bowling in the skies since we crossed the Nebraska plains on the 4th of July some years ago on The Way West.
As it turned out last night’s mostly rainless pyrotechnics outdid both the terrific storms I experienced on the Great Plains and even those monster cloudbursts in Florida and the South. The lightening last night came in both purplish, fog-muted flashes and huge kinetic bolts that snaked across the whole of the night sky in all directions. They were so brilliant they left a kind of imprint on your eyelids when you closed your eyes.
The jagged bolts sometimes left brief glowing domes of green light when they seemed to strike the ground. It reminded me of the alien special efx in the original George Pal WAR OF THE WORLDS. The effect was all the more frightening when I recalled that it was lightening strikes that started the recent devastating wildfires in northern California near Yosemite.
There was also the smell of eminent rain, that expectant redolence of first drops on macadam, by now an unfamiliar but well-remembered scent from another life when, unlike Out Here, rain still happened in summer.
About 2.05 a drizzle commenced. I optimistically closed an upstairs window. But I needn’t have.
For all the sound and fury there was not enough rain to form puddles or to create that nostalgic sound of rain spattering on the roof and pouring out of rainspouts.
About 2.15 there was a climactic thunderclap, like the blow of Donner’s hammer at the end of Wagner’s DAS RHEINGOLD. Then the storm seemed to move away, towards the eastern mountains and Ojai.
Flashes and deep distant rumblings continued in the night as I fell asleep. The storm slowly faded out as well.