Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Storm Watching

We have been in drought for around 10 years. This past spring, we had a wonderful cycle of thunderstorms ! I love them. I stand in the sliding door, or go out on the deck & watch with building excitement as they ride in from the west....will they bypass us & blow north, as they so often do? I can usually tell from a long distance, if they will come our way. As the thunder & lightening crashes all around our forest home, I rush out to the carport to watch & listen. My daddy & big brothers modeled this for me throughout my life. I am still filled with excitement & energy as the storm crashes all around. Our home is on a ridge, level with the uppermost parts of much of the back forest. It is truly amazing to watch the trees whip & thrash, yet hold firm. What a metaphor!

Once this summer, I watched as the dense, front-line moved past, revealing a crystal clear view of the stars. I studied the beautiful shades of gray in the clouds & the light of the storm front. I have always heard that lightening strikes more frequently off the edge of a storm. Counting it to be 3 miles past, I headed in. Before I made the door, a flash, boom & crackle sent my hairs on their very ends! From the safety of the carport, I discovered a sumac had been hit, just off the edge of our home. The uppermost twig gleamed blue & white, before changing to glowing shades of amber. 11:30 p.m. No going to sleep anytime soon after that surge of energy. I retrieved the binoculars & watched for ages as the finger sized twig turned from light to ember to char. It took me days to find that burnt twig, but I hunted it down. I am still hunting for one Tom heard a couple of weeks ago. I do things like that.

One afternoon, I was home alone & a particularly violent storm blew in. I stood in the carport shooting images of the forest.I continued shooting through mist, then rain & finally marble sized hail. I had to back up as the waters encroached. I had backed nearly half way through the carport, when I felt the same coming from behind. Wind-carried rain coming from 2 directions would send most running for cover. I will say, this was a rare moment of exhilarating fear of a storm for me. A massive crack & I watched as the top half of a massive pine snapped off. (The above image is what remained).It stood upright for the longest moment, just next to where it once was. It then crashed across the forest taking out several smaller trees in it's descent. (I think this image gives an idea of how large it was).That in itself was amazing, but the scary part was that at the same time, 3 smaller pines broke off & fell the opposite direction !!! It was a micro-burst & I stood but 50 yards away, watching. AWESOME!!!

Much of late summer was void of thunderstorms. The last few rain showers, however were accompanied by pouring sunshine. I just don't know how folks can rush by without stopping to marvel at such miracles !

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