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The sound of a thunderstorm in Phoenix, Arizona

The first time that I ever heard a thunderstorm was in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, don't get wrong, I grew up in Minneapolis, and there are plenty of thunderstorms (and snowstorms!) there. But it was like anything else that is so common, I never paid any attention to it, and never really heard it.

If you've ever lived in Los Angeles, you know that the coast never really gets thunderstorms. Sure, it rains, but not big thunder and lightning. Not like Minneapolis, and not like Phoenix. And of course I never noticed them, or the lack of them, in the years I lived in California.

But when I moved back to Phoenix I distinctly remember hearing the sound of a thunderstorm at night. And something that had been missing from my life, that I had never even thought about, came back into place.

Yes, Phoenix gets heavy rains in the summer. On the news they're called "Monsoons" - although originally the radio DJs said that as a joke. A real monsoon goes on for days and days, you know. They were kidding. In Phoenix, the sky darkens, the lightning strikes, the thunder rolls, and it rains hard. It seems to come out of nowhere, and also stops very suddenly.

I've been back in Phoenix for over twenty years now, and I always stop and listen to the thunder. I go outside and watch the rain. Someone once told me that it's the mark of a true Phoenician that a rainy day puts them in a good mood.

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