Grumpy sky

A hot July day. The problem is it’s only May. The weather people call it unseasonably warm; I call it wonderful. This is New England, so it won’t last anyway.

We leave the air-conditioned coolness of the crew quarters for the heat of the garage as the overhead door rumbles upward for what feels like the tenth time today. I zip the windows up for protection from both the heat and the siren, and RP flips the remote AC switch for the patient compartment.

Then we are off into the evening.

As we approach Fire Headquarters, I realize everything is wet and steaming. This is not a simple carwash or lawn sprinkler; the last two blocks have seen recent rain. We round the corner and hiss through puddles for another two blocks, then the roads dry up again.

On scene, as we wait for the firemen to force open a door, I notice the sky. It’s not an angry sky, not in the Auntie-Em-Auntie-Em- get-Toto-and-head-for-the-root-cellar sense. It’s more of a grumpy sky, an it’s-been-a-long-hot-day-please-leave-me-alone sky.

As we emerge from the house with our patient, I can hear the first rumblings. They are barely audible over the screaming diesels but not unexpected. I turn around to look over the sea behind us. One cloud is thicker than the others, darker, seemingly reaching all the way to the surface of the sea. As I watch it drops a lightning bolt into the ocean directly between me and the Big City skyline.

The full moon attempts to make an appearance, struggling through the blackness. The result is a glowing ember of cloud, a strange candlewick apparition in the sky.

As we pull away, the rain begins.