|From Purdue's Corn Site|
Friday was, brutally hot, and even in an air conditioned car, on my way to a Dr.'s appointment, my shirt became soaked from contact with the seat back. I had just finished watering my containers and a few plantings just an hour before, and still felt the clamp of the heated day.
Observing the corn and bean fields on my way into town, as I often do, could not help but feel the misery of the pineappled corn plants, stunted well below their usual height. Do plants cry out in pain? If so, these fields in piteously weak energy were whispering their cries for mercy from the hot sun and the parched soil at their roots. I began wondering what hope there could be if these fields did not get rain, or even if they did get rain, were their poor futures beyond hope of even a good drenching reprieve?
On my way home I was to know something of the immediate answer, even if not a portal to see into the future of their harvests. The sky, upon leaving the Dr. office, was a deep, foreboding gray. Not simply leaden, but blackened. Deepening as one looked to the west and the north. If this produced rain, I thought (for drought clouds have sometimes promised what they would not deliver), it will surely be a fearful storm. A storm that causes one to scan the horizon for signs of a tornado. But there seemed no horizon at this four o'clock hour, just a drop of dark clouds which gave an eerie feeling that night was coming all too soon for a summer's day.
Traveling west, toward home, I was going to head straight into the glowering sky. I figured on meeting the rain, but I did not figure on the force of this storm.
Gusting wind stirred up the soil, and began to bend the tree branches, rain, slowly at first finally dropped from the sky. Lightning overhead, it was the beginnings of a usual, if strong, summer thunderstorm. I determined to continue all the way home, despite a spooked driver who quickly pulled into a driveway- as those who wait out storms often do... I wondered if there had been a report they had heard that I was unaware of, or a phone call from a worried loved one.
It portended what was to come.
The winds kicked up with pelting rains, forcing the branches of trees to one side of their growth and driving sheets of rain across the fields and over the road. I soon passed a downed tree which gave special concern. That alert caused me to pass the tall trees lining the road with as much alacrity as possible, not speeding exactly, but perhaps mentally putting those potential hazards behind me as quickly as reasonable.
As one moves west in my area of Ohio the land gives way to fields and fields of flat plains, with few trees and fewer homes. The winds and rains across such terrain has nothing to break their forces and my car was threatening to blow sideways into the ditches that outline our roads for drainage. Waves of wind-driven rain sheeted across the road, and as I waited at the final stop sign, I wondered- was my mind playing tricks on me? Is the car moving? Is it the wind or am I hydroplaning? Crossing the intersection, I was on the last stretch... so glad to be almost home, wondering if the electric was still on, after the mighty thunderclaps and bursts of lightning.
Finally, my driveway, ...and after parking the car and running inside from the pelting rain, it felt good, it felt safe, and the welcome rain seemed worth the price.
But for many the storm was not nearly so beneficent. Soon news of outages and losses of many trees surfaced in news reports. Do you ever feel survivor guilt in such times? I had a mild case of it. But then our trees have been nature pruned for the past few years of strong storms and ice, and this area is sometimes passed over by the worst of it (maybe those flat plains give the storms a chance to move more quickly?)
Our family is well prepared here for most challenges that storms may deliver, and I'm thankful for that. The rain was much needed. The forecast, however is for punishing heat in the week to come. We are deluded by our modern conveniences, power to control life is outside our reach and we administer only the most puny of influence upon it. For all the preparedness we attempt, that is what days like Friday can attest:
“We don't understand the power of nature and the world because we don't live with it. Our environment is designed to sustain us. We are the domestic pets of a human zoo called civilization.”
― Laurence Gonzales, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
Occasionally nature knocks on the door of our consciousness.
As an aside:
My husband and I experienced the most powerful roll of thunder soon after this storm had passed. It rolled over us for what seemed a long time, shaking the house almost like an earthquake. It moved towards our area from the east and traveled onto the west, rolling and thundering. It was so impressive, that my husband looked up what causes such phenomena.
Superheated air from a lightning strike sends a shockwave of sound. Thunder is caused by the rapid heating (and then cooling) of the air from lightning. The sound of a lightning discharge can also bounce off of clouds to create a long, rumbling effect (especially true when the lightning is cloud to cloud).
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© 2012 written for Ilona's Garden Journal. An excellent blog.