sleeping through thunderstorms

It rained just one single day during our entire time on Lake Michigan. Half the time, it seemed, the sky threatened (promised) from across the dark gray expanse of sea but the ominous-looking thunderheads would always break apart to the south or north upon their arrival ashore. Our cabin was actually a modest 1940s shack stunningly remodeled sometime the past couple decades into a breathtaking faux log home adorned with delightful nautical kitsch and art. Perhaps the best feature was the soft, shady backyard overlooking Lake Michigan. For eight mornings we stepped out barefoot and sleepy to the wooded sandy bluff to see what the little tides had wrought on our sandy beach- a puddle here. A puddle there.

One good thunderstorm was all we got and each of us slept goshdarnfully quiet through the maelstrom: Diana, Oliver Fern, Adam, me. My mom awoke in the middle of the night to watch over Adam, poised to comfort him the moment he jolted awake scared and disoriented. He was sleeping on a pullout sofa in the great room beneath a row of curtainless windows facing out over the lake and lightning filled the house over and over with brilliant cyan flashes of light followed by crackling thunder. She crept downstairs from the loft and pulled each of the windows three-quarters of the way down to keep the rain out. Adam slept peacefully, not unlike a little bear cub nestled in dry pine needles and soft dirt. The next morning over breakfast our jaws all dropped as Grandma recounted the vicious storm in the middle of the night. No, that’s impossible! we protested. Somehow we did sleep through the thunderstorm, I guess we must have been exhausted from the stress of the previous several days dealing with the heartbreak of Diana’s mother’s broken leg (like the thunderstorm, it also happened right in the cabin and seemed impossible).

So for the rest of the week we were anxious for the next big storm and we actually didn’t mind the prospect of getting rained off the beach but the weather never really broke the other way. It was just depressing sunshine and cool lake breezes through the dainty wind chime on the side veranda. It’s hard to deal with these disappointments sometimes but you make the best of things and just slather your sunscreen on and head to the beach to shovel sand for awhile and then take a dip in the lake.

This mythical and enchanting Lake Michigan gnome lined the path to the front door. I found him to be quite a refreshing variation on the gnome-standing-fruitily-next-to-a-mushroom theme. Every time I passed this way, I imagined him battling giant fish and wrestling wayward raccoons during nightly thunderstorms while we slept peacefully inside. A brave, heroic defender of the cabin…..

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