Every now and then, something spectacular happens in South Maui.
Earlier today, around noon, I went to play tennis with a few friends. Normally, the sun would be oppressively strong at that time of day, making outdoor sports/exercise better in or near the ocean. Playing tennis in the noonday Maui sun usually feels like you're playing on the surface of the sun.
However, today was different. It was cool when we got to the tennis courts, with a crisp southerly breeze, and the sun was obscured through a high layer of billowy clouds.
The beach behind the courts were filled with kite surfers, who were taking advantage of the abnormal conditions, attacking the winds which were blowing from the opposite direction.
As we played tennis, it seemed like someone had put the air-conditioning on, and it was a strangely comfortable couple of hours. We got a set of doubles in, then we split up and played singles. We hit around for a while afterward, in no hurry, enjoying the coolness of the day.
As we were leaving the courts and heading to our cars, it began to drizzle.
"Nice timing," I said to my friend, as he said the same thing to me, at the same time.
I looked out at the ocean and noticed how dark the clouds had become on the horizon.
The wind had also picked up as the palms trees swayed and shook in unison.
By the time I got home, the rain had begun to fall steadily, but gently.
I parked my car, then moved my scooter under the eaves of my cottage roof so it wouldn't get a soaking.
Even though it was only around 4:00, it was already starting to get dark and you could tell the real storm was about to come. The rain continued to fall, getting stronger, and the wind became persistent and swirling .
Off in the distance, I heard the rumble of thunder.
A half of an hour later the rain really started to come down.
The street was already filled with water, and small rivers formed and ran next to the curbs. Lightning came unexpectedly, filling the darkened sky with a flash, quickly followed by a boom of thunder that shook my cottage.
It rained with gusto as the sky opened up in full force, unleashing a tropical deluge so thick that I could no longer see the house across the street. The air was cool and dense, and as I stood in my doorway watching the show, I breathed deeply, gulping lungfuls that seemed clean and refreshing, so different from our everyday dust-filled, hot air.
It rained so hard that the street rivers joined and were becoming a lake.
Lightning and thunder continued for the next ten minutes, tapering off slowly as the rain began to subside. The drizzle lasted for another ten minutes.
Then, it stopped... and it was quiet, except for the sounds of dripping.
The ground was soaked, and the wind was gone.
Tomorrow, the sun will shine as it does every day, and the tourists will go to the beach and wonder why the ocean is brown.
My cactus garden will have a group therapy meeting to work through their trauma.
My plumeria tree will be smiling, looking forward to the next rain, hoping not to have to wait another eight months.