For those who chanced to be awake or were awakened last night, here in Berlin there was a not-often-experienced in January weather situation called a thunderstorm. Returning home late (in other cities perhaps, but not especially so here) after midnight I arrived home and being wiser than usual decided to completely turn the computer off, turn off all other electronics and sound, and simply lay and listen before trying to go to sleep.
A flash of light outside my window, strange and unexpected, with almost a laugh I considered the possibilities of what might have caused it: someone taking photos of me? On the 4th level, they must be flying or having been lifted up or lowered down on a hoist. But a few seconds after the flash, a rumble sounded, and I was astounded. I’d not heard a thunderstorm here since last summer 2012. The occurence this night sent me on a great journey into the past. Memories of the serious and sobering, but mostly of amusing things.
2011 I posted here about I and my family’s experiences during the April tornadoes that devastated many parts of Alabama, with loss of life that can never be regained, and property and the earth that are still recovering. We were without power, water, etc. for almost a week, with limited resources and had to go out daily to gather wood for fuel, but of course, we made it. When I visited the home area during December 2012, driving from Tennessee back to Alabama, you could still see where the tornadoes came through.
For the past couple of weeks, we’d had very cold weather in Germany, below zero, with snow and ice, and each day going out was very many minutes dressing for the cold, and wherever you ended, if it was inside, undressing yet again. When I’d checked the forecast a few days ago, it was hard to believe they were predicting almost Spring temperatures: 11°C or over 50°F.
In Alabama, if you see a forecast where it is cold yet suddenly its going to get warm, or vice versa, you get worried, because that means storms, and all too often a tornado. I’ve been through more than I’d like. No one likes to. I’ve even been somewhat of a stormchaser, as working in law enforcement before, when you’re out on patrol, you will be there no matter what the weather, and you will relay what you’re seeing for the safety of others.
In Berlin, I could relax. I could remember the funny things.
My son, having grown up looking towards the skies and listening for tell-tale evidence you needed to get to shelter, used to crack me up laughing because he was seriously concerned and highstrung regarding. When the severe weather sirens started going off, he would gather up the cat and put him in a “protected for-his-own-good” pillowcase snatched from the linen closet, and then shut them both inside said closet until the all-clear was given. No, the cat wasn’t distressed, he would simply go to sleep after a couple of seconds, just like he does for almost anything except when sensing, for different reasons, an upcoming bath or cat treats.
We have a special cat, and as many cat-owners have told me: they are amazed by his affability, as theirs would have no such patience for what…the cat endures/enjoys. Our cat lets himself be dressed in baby clothes, costumes and what have you, and generally is a creampuff and true scaredy cat, and rarely if ever gets out of temper over it. He just lets it happen, settles down without concern and usually goes to sleep soon afterwards. Back story?
I’d never intended to get a cat, but when a regular customer to a 2nd hand book shop I worked in (in order to get all those rare tomes I love) came in lamenting her son had far too many, kittens still coming and in a bad environment, I decided to go over and see if I could help. People like that really need help. A product of in-breeding and in deplorable conditions, he was the lone black cat in a herd of adults and a few babies, near starved and obviously kicked about a lot by the other cats as he was total low on the prestige chart.
We’ve had the cat since he was a few months old, and now he’s six years old. He has seizures, after which he can forget the basics of taking care of himself, and has to be retaught or given patience until he remembers what to do. He is especially loving, attentive and absolutely loves to be wherever my son is. Or actually on top of my son wherever he is, in close proximity or yammering to receive that attention or position. As an adolescent with special needs himself, my son and the cat are inseparable and support each other.
When I think of thunderstorms, like last night, I can immerse myself in the experience of heavy rain drumming on glass, on windowsills, pattering in pools to the murmur and growl of thunder, with flashes of lightening that both amaze and petrify. But mostly, I think of my son in the closet with his cat inside a pillowcase, a Nintendo DS on so they can have light, while he reads a story to soothe the kitty.