Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Strange Light

I suppose one must be surrounded by a lot of open country to be witness to events such as this on. Above the sky is light. It is not raining in my garden or anywhere in my yard for that matter. Yet across the road in the newly sown cornfield there brews a storm beneath the sky.

That dark blue behind the trees is not a mountain, those are clouds and torrential rain where open space should be. Yet it is dry and quiet west of the road. This was very strange, and weird too. The odd light changing the tone of the Iris blooms as it played oddly on the scene. The edge of that storm did move across the road and drench my silly self out there standing and acting the spectator in foolish awe. Moving onto the dry porch only after my clothes were plastered to my skin.

That field seems a rather strange place with a climate that is perhaps a little off. It has a history of attracting tornadoes too. In '54 one headed straight north up the center of it and picked up Ida's barn. Of course it was the one her daddy built in 1903. The foundation is still there at the corner of the field, inside of which grows a thicket of trees that has engulfed the old cistern. An ancient tractor the tornado left behind will never grace someone's antique machine collection. It will remain until it turns to dust with a tree grown straight up though the iron frame.

The year after I took this photo, a tornado chased me up the road from town. How I outran it I no idea, yet somehow I did. I was going so fast when I hit the driveway I almost went through the barn. The black funnel touched down at the far side of the field raising dirt dervishes up as high as the trees behind it. It reached a break in the trees over there and headed over head, not touching down again until it hit Tornado Alley along the Interstate 15 miles east.

Tornadoes seem drawn to the county line - that road that runs east and west less than eighth of a mile beyond my driveway. The following summer we all had to run for the cellar as one screamed right up the center of that road too. All my potter kids and me giggling in the musty safety beneath the ground. Listening to the phone upstairs ring off the hook. No one was brave enough to go back outside to get into the house and calm whatever mom (or moms) frantically trying to find their child.

In the midst of the howling wind and thunder, someone was actually knocking on the cellar door! It wasn't a mother. She sent her oldest daughter (far braver than she) to make sure we were in the cellar. Of course by then the danger had speed through and what remained was just the wind that drove the eye of the storm swiftly toward Tornado Alley.

Like who would think of grabbing the cordless when safety must be found without hesitation? Where was my cellphone? Dead at the bottom of my purse - where else would it be in a land without dependable or albeit any signal that would allow you to actually use it. Thanks Verizon, you service is priceless.

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