I was driving a remote circuitous route that my GPS unit determined for me (I never carry maps anymore), so I pulled off the county road on a wide shoulder by a farmhouse driveway. The storm in question was several miles to the northwest. Thunder growled continuously from all directions. Occasionally I'd see a clear bolt of lightning hit the ground, but mostly I saw flashes behind roiling dark clouds that look lifted from the stained glass windows of my hometown church.
I adore the Midwest, for just this sort of spectacle. Where I live has no discernible weather. One season blends weakly into the next and, except for the occasional November windstorm, nothing much happens in the sky. Here, the weather can kill you any month of the year.
I've lived in this part of the country at various times—college in Ohio, a year in Kansas, a winter in Minneapolis, a spring in the Michigan north woods—and I miss this drama. After I had my fill of the sky show (and as the rain started splatting), I got back on the road and appeared to drive into a car wash. The boundary between road and air disappeared into a violent wet smudge. Then, in a sudden instant, I crossed a boundary and the deluge became drizzle. The sky ahead was a benign pastiche of pastels, but in my mirrors it was a solid black.