The Summer Before the Storm...

And we waited it out...
Days of heat have amounted to one very stuffy apartment. It was time for a change. I packed my bag. Water for drinking. Books for reading. Peaches for eating. Sunscreen for protecting (and the smell). It was going to be a good old-fashioned summer afternoon at the park.

Isolated thunderstorms were potentially hovering over the air.

“Well it always might rain in Paris,” Bridget reminded me via Gchat as I questioned my venture.

I barely gave it another thought as I threw on my sun glasses. I biked up to the Parc Buttes Chaumont, perching atop the hill, overlooking all of Paris. I spread out my towel and kicked off my shoes.

Summer ain’t so bad in Paris.

While tapping my feet to some music and flipping through my book, the air was clean and fresh, and I started to get nervous. This was Paris in the middle of July – it should smell more like baked urine and the heat should hang in the air like a sauna. What was this fresh cooling business?

Then I heard it. The few around me did, too. Thunder clapped overhead. The wind began to rustle the trees across the park as the refreshing air started to waft hints of ozone. A storm was brewing, but like good Parisians, we all dismissed it. It felt too good after so many days of heat.

The air got cooler. The thunder got closer. Boom. And then crack. You know, the sounds of thunder. Then the droplets began. It was barely a mist. Only the semi-fornicating couple in front of me got up to leave, either to head home and finish what they started or to avoid what the rest of us were still casually ignoring.

Then came the whistles – normally not associated with thunderstorms – as the park guard came to tell us that the park was closing. What? For these few drops of rain and a few rolls of thunder? Humbug. Begrudgingly we all made our way to the nearest exist and as if on cue, the skies opened up and the deluge began.

Soaked to the bone within seconds, I rolled my bike down the sidewalk, finding temporary shelter under a tree before finally ducking into a gas station to wait it out. No one was grumbling. No one was complaining. This is the way of things in Paris. Rain is a part of life, and I had almost begun to miss it.

As the showers subsided, I rode home, realizing I had left a window open, and mopped up the mess more showers appeared. And then, as if it never went away, summer came back. The sun was out and my apartment was stuffy, and I was contemplating heading back out once my socks dried…