Cloud Cover

I don’t like mushrooms. Never have. A more accurate statement might be that I loathe the wee bastards. Don’t like the taste, hate the texture, can’t stand the smell when they’re cooking. And yet, in the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve craved them. Craved. The vaguest mention of the word ‘mushroom’ captures my attention, pictures of them reclining on pizzas or splashing about in soup make my mouth water. Looking at them at the market makes everything within me yearn to eat my own weight in miscellaneous fungi. I haven’t, though, because I can’t stand 'em. I asked my naturopath about it, she said vitamin D deficiency and that totally makes sense. Because after the winter from hell, there was a brief and rather excessive interlude of summer with 40C and then the damn thing came back. Winter, that is. Or at least it feels like it. Because for the past couple of weeks, it’s been raining. And cold. And cloudy. Every day. There has been no sun for weeks and on top of no sun for months, it's apparently more than my body can handle on its own.

In the beginning, I didn't care. When people around me complained, I'd grin like the Cheshire cat and say "it's not snow!" And really, that's all that mattered to me – that it wasn’t freezing and white and impassable. But as the days wore on and it increasingly felt like I was back in Denmark, where a nice warm summer day means that it's maybe 20C and only rained for a few hours, my high spirits at the lack of white stuff started to flag. And getting up day after day after day to cloudy skies and rain and more rain and yet more rain started giving me a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder normally only experienced in the deepest dark of February. There are slightly browner spaces on my feet where the straps are my sandals aren't and I'm pretty convinced that it isn't the beginnings of a tan, but rather rust developing from all the wet. I wore socks last week - socks! in the middle of June! - and it is becoming blatantly obvious that I would wither away and die and/or jump off a curb if I lived in the Pacific Northwest.

It started out on the right foot. If you can talk about feet in the context of precipitation, that is. When the heat wave broke, it did so by assistance of some pretty impressive thunderstorms. In fact, there was a period of quite a few days where intense storms moved through the province on a daily basis. There would be blue skies and sunshine - remember sunshine? - and then the light would take on that odd intensity that means if you turn around, the other half of the sky is covered in a wall cloud approaching the colour of a nice charcoal suit. Many of the storms happened after dark and gave us one hell of a show. The lightning would start, one after the other, arcing down and flaring through the high clouds again and again, continuous flashes as if the gods were paparazzi and Angelina Jolie just walked by. Accompanying the light show would be the soundtrack of rumbling that had no end and no beginning, just overlapping thunder, rolling over and over again. The storms were some of the most intense I've ever seen and I began to understand the origin of the Norse myths that had Thor riding across the skies in his carriage, thunder and lightning in his wake. I also began to understand how frightening storms like this can be to those living in tornado prone areas - the way they pull up fast, out of nowhere, leaving you hardly enough time to get inside and safe. We were lucky here in Toronto, the storms being merely a reminder that the human race can't control everything, a fantastic show to watch from the safety of your home. For a brief time, I fought the urge to go outside, on the roof of our building to take video and pictures of the tempest. Then I thought better of it. But others managed to get out there with a camera – see here for video and here for some stunning photos.

Incredible majesty of nature’s display notwithstanding, the first day of summer has passed and I fervently (ardently, desperately) hope that the weather is going to snap out of it and behave accordingly soon.