boom – verb \ˈbüm\

: to make a deep and loud sound
: to say (something) in a deep and loud voice
: to grow or expand suddenly
: to make a deep hollow sound
: to increase in importance, popularity, or esteem


Just a few minutes ago, I heard and saw a small explosion outside my office window. I was a witness, I guess you could say, but I couldn’t be sure of the details. The boom, the flash. They were real. But then, silence. Had it really happened?

I considered calling 911, but I wasn’t sure what I would say. “I think something might have exploded?” Instead, I decided to investigate, to look for smoke or victims or just evidence. Grabbing my cellphone and stepping into my shoes, I headed out for a quick walk toward where I thought I saw the light.

I peered around the neighbors’ houses. I peeked in their windows from my place on the sidewalk. I looked up in the trees to see if any smoke or flame was lingering. Despite what I thought I saw, I could find no evidence. While I certainly don’t want there to have been an explosion, the alternative seems uncomfortable. Did I really just imagine it? Later I may hear the neighborhood scuttlebutt that a breaker blew or a car backfired. Or I may not. Either way, for now, I have to be content with not knowing, with truth that is just outside my reach.

It’s raining today, like it has for several of the past few days. The water pools on the patio, and when it pours down hard, a rivulet ambles through the basement toward the drain near the dog bowls. We knew that could be a problem when we bought the house.

When I first heard the explosion, I assumed that lightning had struck, but the only flash came from just over the neighbors’ roof. Nothing from the sky. Nothing reaching down to wreak havoc and create the boom.

The rain blew in on a damaging wind, though, and the sticks covering the front and back yard remind me of the more common problems of storms. I was going to start adding the newly fallen sticks to our brush pile last night, but my husband said there was no need. More would fall overnight when the storms blew through. He was right.


I’ll admit it: when I heard the explosion, part of me wanted a little drama this morning, the chance to be the hero and call 911. I wanted to run out of the house and find other curious neighbors, to stand around and talk about the boom and the light. To talk about how rainy it’s been, and how the leaves down on Harvard Terrace and around the corner on East Street and just over on Oneil, how they all look like they are glowing.

Instead, nearly an hour after the explosion, I saw only the garage door open next door, and as she always does about this time in the morning, the woman who lives there scurried to her car and left. The garage door rolled closed on its tracks as she backed down the driveway.

The forecast says rain til Thursday. I guess I’ll pick up the sticks when the sky clears.



Photo above by Amanda Richards, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.