What causes fascination? Perhaps it is our inherent curiosity of the unknown. Why then, do we often marvel at the most mundane of phenomena? Wherein lies the secret to this sensation of phenomenal wonder - the ability to perceive the ordinary with a unique sensual acuity? I cannot claim to have this aforementioned acuity, but I have endeavored on many occasions to hunt for the intriguing in what is plain - to experience ‘phenomenal wonder’.
There are experiences which do not require acuity to fascinate us - the mystical. I have encountered much that is mystical, but the torrential downpoor will forever amaze me. I pity those who have not bathed in the torrential downpoors of the southern states, for such a shower cannot be found in the most elaborate of spas. Many northern states are deprived of the torrential downpoor, and for me to explain its splendor, I must first describe the atmosphere prior to it.
During the summer, the south is like a clay pot in an oven. The land is dry, hot, and dusty. The heat convinces you that the mouth of hell is opening, with flames licking your feat as you walk. Entire communities pray for a miracle hailstorm to extinguish this incredible heat. It is apparent that no amount of praying will result in a hailstorm in the middle of July; rain, on the other hand, is quite possible. Meteorologists argue it is the natural order of things; poets and romanticists claim it is the will of thirsty land that prompts the sudden showers of the downpoors.
I am not concerned with the cause of this heavenly precipitation, only interested in its result. The first torrential downpoor is like tasting a sip of water after days in the desert. The mouth of hell is closed and the flames smothered. You can smell the rain; it is a unique odor and cannot be compared to anything else. It is the result of water hitting dust, and produces a salty aroma. Before the clouds burst, you hear deep muffled rumbles. It sounds like a giant’s belly grumbling from hunger. The bright sunlight diffuses, leaving behind a soft dissipated glow.
Then the showers begin. At first it sounds like rice being poured out of a tremendous sack, or like thousands of microscopic...