Light Up the Night Sky

For the second night in a week, I was awakened by the loud crash of thunder.

This time, I did not roll over, shake Tara excitedly, and ask, “DID YOU HEAR THAT?!?!” Because after I did so last week, she was unable to fall back to sleep the rest of the night, and was not a happy camper on Thursday. I have come to learn that she does not share my enthusiasm for thunderstorms, and would actually rather sleep than watch jagged forks of lightning split the night sky.

To each their own.

“I lived in Kansas,” she says. “We got thunderstorms all the time.”

OK, but I lived in South Dakota and Ohio. We got thunderstorms all the time, too. Yet I still get giddy anytime they occur. I guess that’s due to 19 years in the Pacific Northwest, and before that, 8 in California. Thunderstorms on the West Coast are a rarity. We get a few every year in Portland, but they’re rarely anything to write home about.

Last night was the exception. About 11:40, a rumbling woke me up, and for the next couple of hours the lightning and thunder (and periods of heavy rain) were constant. I’ve rarely seen so much lightning around here. It was pretty freakin’ cool! True to my word, I never woke Tara up (tempting though it was), and she ended up sleeping through the whole thing. I’ll admit that, after awhile, even I was beginning to think, OK, it can settle down now. Sleep would be nice. I finally nodded off again about 3:00. Exciting night, but it’s going to be a long day, especially following a nice, long weekend. Coming back to reality always sucks.

Thunderstorms rumbled through Portland this AM. (Courtesy of Mike Ranweiler Photography).
Thunderstorms rumbled through Portland this AM. (Courtesy of Mike Ranweiler Photography).

They’re predicting more storms tomorrow night, so I’d better catch up on my sleep before then!

We had a great visit with Matt and Monica, even though it ended up being shorter than expected. They arrived right on cue Friday afternoon. Actually, they were early, and already there when I got home. Even though it had been four years since we last saw each other, there was never an awkward moment. We grilled some ribeye steaks topped with mushrooms for dinner, listened to music, and talked long into the night. Until close to midnight, as a matter of fact, sitting out on the patio, taking advantage of a warm summer night. The slugs came out as they always do after dark, freaking Monica out, but we assured her they’re harmless. A little disgusting maybe, with their slime trails, but hey – that’s nature! Saturday, they wanted to spend “a typical day in Portland, MarTar-style” (their nickname for the two of us), so we got an early start to a busy day. Took them downtown, where we attempted to grab some Voodoo Doughnuts, but the always-long line was even longer than usual and the hot sun was beating down, so they settled for a whiff of fresh doughnuts instead. We walked around the Saturday Market for awhile, showed them the waterfront, and then headed over to the east side of town for lunch at our newest discovery, Lardo. We then spent a couple of hours exploring record shops and vintage stores before heading home for a breather. We listened to music for a few hours, then ducked into one of those hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants for a quick dinner that turned out to be surprisingly good. Came back home and ended up back on the patio, engaged in more conversation. It was a fun, and full, day.

Sunday we were supposed to take them sightseeing in the Columbia Gorge – the Vista House, Multnomah Falls – but Monica had been feeling under the weather on Saturday, and after a restless night found herself suffering from a full-on (or about to be full-on) cold. Feeling miserable, they made the difficult decision to return home a day early, but not before we went out for breakfast together at Shanahan’s in Vancouver. All in all it was a great visit, and we look forward to seeing them again soon. We won’t let another four years go by this time, either.

Now, the next big thing on our agenda is our wedding. Which is a mere 11 days away!! That’s right, we can now officially say, next week we will be married!!! Which is exciting and wonderful and hard to fathom, all at once. It feels like I just proposed to her. It’s amazing how fast this year has gone by.



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

15 thoughts on “Light Up the Night Sky

  1. Oh lord. You and my dad. That’s all he can talk about this morning: “Did you hear that last night? Why didn’t anyone go out and see?” Because it’s thunder, dad, and by the time we got outside it would be gone.


    1. Ordinarily that might be the case, but last night’s 3-hour storm was definitely the exception. If we do get Round III tomorrow night, I’m going outside, for sure! Hey, maybe your dad will join me?


    1. I’ve had a deep fascination with weather my whole life. I even wanted to become a meteorologist when I was little. Took one class in college, found out it was a ton of math, and quickly lost interest. It’s still a fun hobby/pastime, though. I was even an official weather spotter for the National Weather Service about 10 years ago.


  2. If there was lightning and/or thunder last night, I didn’t hear/see any of it. It did rain. The wet roads were a sure sign of it. I just wish it would get windy and blow all this humidity out of here. Oh!! By the way!! The weather person is a big fat liar!! Cooler temps, my arse!!

    Anyhoo…I can’t believe the wedding is almost upon us. It’s kinda surreal. I have to keep reminding myself that next Friday, we’ll all be driving to Lincoln City. WooHoo!!!!


  3. “It was pretty freakin’ cool!”

    I’m with you, Mark! I LOVE thunderstorms. And really LOUD and LIGHTNINGY ones! Having lived in Florida, thunder and lightning are an almost everyday occurrence during the summer months. I laugh, because when it lighting and thunders here in Philly, everyone gets so SCARED and FREAKED out about it. I swear to god, they TOTALLY freak out! Like they’re going to die or something.

    Sounds like you really had a nice weekend with your friends, in spite of it being cut short.

    “Which is a mere 11 days away!!”

    OMG….I’m so EXCITED! Only 11 days away!!!!!

    *doing the happy dance*


    1. LOUD and LIGHTNINGY thunderstorms are the best kinds! I’m surprised to hear the folks in Philly freak out over them. I’ve spent enough time in Trenton to know that they’re fairly commonplace. One of my fondest childhood memories involves visiting my grandmother in New Jersey and hearing thunderstorms roll through in the middle of the night. It was such a novelty back then! (Ha…still is).


  4. Like Tara, I would rather sleep through a T-storm if I can because they scare the crap out of me! After having Sam, I had to appear brave, so as not to mar her too, but I am still afraid.


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