Minnesota is a slab of limestone.
Hawaii is a chain of cooled lava domes.
Utah is a dessicated expanse of sandstone.
The moon is a ball of basalt.
Sri Lanka is a jewel-encrusted shard of continent.
Holland is slipping into the sea.
When I lived in Minnesota as a teenager, my favorite times of the year were the beginning of spring, when the snow first began to melt, and the end of summer, when thunderheads and anvil clouds advance across the great plains.
Of the two, however, I prefered tornado season. I loved the drama of a yellow sky; twilight in the afternoon; a drop of twenty degrees in five minutes. The ominous staticy beep of the emergency broadcast system interrupting game shows or sitcoms; wading through lukewarm flashfloods in barefeet; watching lightning bloom across miles of textured sky. I once saw lightning hit a telephone pole – it made a huge cracking sound and caught on fire.
It was a great time to be indoors. The wind blew so hard it made the walls creak. You took a few steps back from your picture windows and unplugged your computer. The whining tornado siren would call us down to our cellars when we were young – when I was older I’d run outside in my underwear and roll around on the wet grass watching the sky and feeling the wind swirling around our little city, whipping the clouds up like egg whites.
Power outages and hail. A dozen different types of thunder.
And silent mornings: streets littered with tree branches, ozone in the air.