This past Wednesday night we went to our friends' apartment to, as they put it, enjoy some "light drinking and stimulating conversation." The evening delivered on both counts but it's difficult to say why. The conversation is always stimulating but either it remained so because the drinking was light or the drinking was light because the conversation wasn't belligerent. It's typically the former when we don't discuss politics, and even when we do discuss them the belligerence isn't aimed at anyone in our group because we're all level-headed. It's fun to discuss politics but we get all riled up and are basically just complaining about the state of the world. But I digress - there was a battle to speak of.
We got home in the middle of the night and promptly went to sleep. Shortly thereafter we were woken by what I would imagine the sky would sound like if it were falling. Thunder overcame the silence like a wave: a low rumbling began at one end of the city and at its crescendo crashed upon the city-centre. Autumn was announcing its return from a long absence. In its absence summer had cast its heavy, humid blanket upon the city. Its removal sounded like the sky was being ripped apart and the pieces were being cast down around us. The sounds of this sundering went on for upwards of a minute and a half.
To those who would say I am trying to pull a memory through the fog of sleep in my estimation of how long the thunderclaps lasted, I say nay. I counted. One minute and thirty-one seconds was the longest one I counted and it was awesome. I've seen some incredible lightning storms before but I've never heard thunder to match what I heard Wednesday night/Thursday morning. What made it all the more incredible was the timing.
The Japanese are known for having their trains run on time and they have it down to a science. It's possible to set your clocks by them. To those who would scoff at this, again I say nay. I've done it. The circuit board in my cell phone has nothing on the punctuality of a Japanese train. And apparently, a record-breaking hot summer has nothing on the punctuality of autumn. The night of the storm was 22 September - the autumnal equinox.
The day after autumn vanquished summer the change in the weather was instantaneous: 35 degrees became 25 degrees; 90% humidity became 30% humidity. Typically seasons merge together in a blurring-of-the-lines sort of way. Here it was like a train arriving: one second the platform is empty and the next there's a train screaming to a halt.