Thoreau's Journal: 17-Apr-1856
Was awakened in the night by a thunder and lightning shower and hail-storm—the old familiar burst and rumble, as if it had been rumbling somewhere else ever since I heard it last, and had not lost the knack. I heard a thousand hailstones strike and bounce on the roof at once. What a clattering! Yet it did not last long, and the hail took a breathing-space once or twice. I did not know at first but we should lose our windows, the blinds being away at the painters’. These sounds lull me into a deeper slumber than before. Hail-storms are milked out of the first summer-like warmth; they belong to lingering cool veins in the air, which thus burst and come down. The thunder, too, sounds like a final rending and breaking up of winter; thus precipitous is its edge. The first one is a skirmish between the cool rear-guard of winter and the warm and earnest vanguard of summer. Advancing summer strikes on the edge of winter, which does not drift fast enough away, and fire is elicited. Electricity is engendered by the early heats. I love to hear the voice of the first thunder as of the toad (though it returns irregularly like pigeons), far away in his moist meadow where he is warmed to life, and see the flash of his eye.