Electric Witches Brew (or, "Children of the Tropics")

Sometimes at night you can see the clouds, their low-hanging underbellies lit by the city's glow. And you can just tell from their shape and color, from the staccato rhythm of the tree limbs shimmying in the wind gusts, that a storm is about to break.

We ain't 'fraid of no storms. Or ghosts. Or authorized personnel.

Last night as I was coaching the kids through the bedtime routine the windowpanes suddenly groaned and the front door trembled for a moment on its hinges. I moved to an upstairs window. The night sky was dropping, the clouds swirled, and then they lit up from above and beneath and inside themselves all at the same time, like electric witch's brew.

I helped Violet brush her teeth. Rain started, first a rumor against the roof, then suddenly a roar. I tucked the kids into bed while outside the falling water whipped the world in waves. Lightning pulsed harsh and pale, otherwordly strobe lights on the terra cotta red roof tiles. I read a book in my favorite chair in my dark bedroom beside a warm, orange lamp as thunder tried to punch a hole through the night.

After awhile I got up to check on the kids, and there they were, all fast asleep, while thunder peals pounded against the walls and lightning flash-bulbed through the windows and across their smooth faces. Children of the stormy tropics, they have become. Storms that would've made younger versions of Abu Halen wet his pants don't faze these fierce-electrical-storm-resistant munchkins. I couldn't be more proud of them, or smitten with them. (And, to be clear, Abu Halen no longer wets his pants, for the most part, except when creepy and unexpected jacks-in-the-box are involved.)