Tag Archives: Storm

Storm over Paradise, Samoa

A calm before the storm settles over the bay on Upolu, Samoa.

The air was heavy, oppressive. Dark clouds rose above a steel horizon. The humid air made it hard to breathe. I took a shower that morning, but never dried off, still dripping. The clear ocean called to me, but a storm was coming. I could feel it in the quiet slowness. No one was in the water. Most of the locals were resting on mats in their fales. A Samoan home, or fale, is mostly built with bamboo and thatch, allowing maximum airflow. The air was not moving.


Storm clouds bloom over Upolu Island, Samoa.

I watched them come, the dark clouds. The weight of wet-hot weather pushing, pushing down on my chest, holding me in place as I watched them grow, the clouds. I wanted to lie down and not move, sleep until the dark dream dispersed.


When the rains came, it was sudden, as if the ocean moved onshore. The sky was water. The air was liquid. The drops were waves, crashing to earth. The sound rose and swelled, drowning all other sounds.


Then, quiet.


IMG_0454_Waving Boy
Talofa lava–a young boy waves in greeting.

The rains ceased. Clouds moved on, a pleasant breeze chasing them. The sun emerged from hiding. Children were the first to awaken, laughing and playing in streams winding back to sea. Steam rose above fluorescent flora. The world sparkled with brilliant color.


Rain and mountains make for spectacular waterfalls in Samoa.

I witnessed a transformation of the island, Samoa, sea, sky, land. What I didn’t see, couldn’t see then, was the change Samoa wrought in my heart, not until I left that place.


I have not been back, yet, I long to return, to reconcile the man I am with man I hope to be, in paradise.

Storm over Happy Valley

I was teaching my sixteen-year-old daughter how to drive. The storm was gathering outside, and inside, our car. I wasn’t so much afraid for my life, as I was for hers. She didn’t seem to notice. It was all good.

“Pull over,” I said.

“Why?” It was her favorite question.

“Because I don’t want to die today.”

“Come on, Dad. Don’t be so dramatic.”

“Just pull over.”

She did.

My knuckles were white. My feet were pressed against the floor boards. I opened the door, got out of the car and took a deep breath. That’s when I could smell it, the rain, on a gentle breeze. I could see it coming. I knew it was going to be big, the storm. I breathed it in. I let it go. I felt a drop and grabbed my camera. The picture kept the storm from coming.

“You’re doing fine,” I said. “Let’s go home before the rain hits.”

She smiled and pull out.

“Don’t forget to signal,” I said, my feet pressing firmly on the invisible brakes.

Gathering Storm
All is quiet, just before the Heavens open over Utah Lake.

Valley of 1,000 Hills, Durban, South Africa

The locals say the weather in Durban is the best in the world. I believe they believe it. But, when the storm brewing over the Valley of 1,000 Hills finally broke, it was like the Heavens turned over the oceans and dumped them on this valley. I can’t remember rain, no, you can’t really call it rain, maybe solid sheets of water, falling from the sky.

Valley of 1,000 Hills
Storm brewing over the Valley of 1,000 Hills.