Storm Clouds Over The Mountains

11-3-2017 Magic Moment:

Driving near Greenville, headed for home. We are traveling through rolling hills and flatland with the escarpment of the Catskill Mountains getting ever closer. They are a massive undulating solid dark blue black presence on the horizon. Here it’s a mostly cloudy day, struggling sunbeams overcome by cloud shadow on this overcast grey day. But over the mountains are roiling angry clouds, vengeful biting wind, dark grey mist of distant rain connecting sky and rock on the horizon. While we move along the highway, I watch the turmoil exploding over the Catskills, too cold for lightening, but impressive and dramatic, black and grey clouds letting loose on the mountaintops.

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Sunbeams Over Schoharie Valley

11-2-2017 Magic Moment:

Driving home through the wide Schoharie valley, near sunset on a cloudy day. I am in the passenger seat watching the grey day end as the hidden sun slips ever closer toward the indistinct horizon. I have many thoughts buzzing through my mind turbulent and troubled, mirroring the gloomy sky. My surgery was just over a week ago. It is healing nicely, still a painful twinge or two every now and then. I am still trying to grasp the enormity of this situation, how it will effect the rest of my life. My husband has told me (and friends) repeatedly that I am the poster child for early detection. I didn’t want to go back and do the second mammogram, but it saved my life. They found my breast cancer in-situ, which means small and right where it started. I may need radiation and or hormone therapy, but I will be okay when this is all over. There will be risk of recurrence, but that is a future worry. As I sit and gaze out at the darkening evening, contemplating the grey world, trying to keep the thought process in my jangled brain more positive than not, something on the horizon silently slips aside. The burning bright blinding sun escapes its grey cloud bondage, bursting forth it’s divine light, immense shining silver sunbeams radiate in all directions, illuminating cloud edges with intense fiery shimmering light. My breath catches in my throat, an audible moan of visual pleasure escapes my lips. If I could catch this on a canvas, hold it in my hand; here in my mind’s eye, I can keep it with me forever.

Mooing At Cows

8-24-2017

Driving along a back country road with no other cars or people or houses in sight, I pass by a large open field with some cows near the fence. I slow to a stop and watch the cows munch and chew the green grass, their long strong tongues working, tails swishing flies from their rumps, their large liquid brown eyes watching me watch them. I can smell the farm, grass, cow, manure, mud, wafting on the warm summer breeze. From across the field another cow moos a greeting, a closer cows nods and shakes its head. I moo back! Loud and strong MOOOOOO, in imitation of what I just heard. I know it sounds nothing like a real cow, and the looks of disdain I get from the cows at the fence makes me laugh. If they could talk they would say “You don’t fool me!”. I moo again and laugh some more. I moo a third time and the cows ignore me, go back to their grass lunch. Smiling, I slowly drive off toward my destination.

Crepe Myrtle Blooming

8-19-2017

I am headed south on I-95 for South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse on the beach. My sister is going to meet me there for another grand adventure! This trip south has been excruciating slow. I made good time until I got south of Washington DC. I hit traffic at Potomac Mills mall and it didn’t let up until I was 100 miles south of Richmond Va. As I have traveled south the humidity has increased, now to the point where the air is as thick and heavy as pea soup. I had forgotten what summer in the south was like. The oppressive heat and humidity, the glaring, blinding sun that can almost instantly burn you to a crisp, the biting bugs that attack every inch of exposed skin when you dare to step out of your car to pump gas in the late afternoon. Another thing I had forgotten was the Crepe Myrtle. I left the highway to get gas and drove down a divided tree lined winding parkway. The trees were Crepe Myrtle. All shades and colors possible between white and fluorescent dark fuchsia. I slowed down to below the speed limit and gawked. These trees are are branchy and gnarled, the wood looks old and wise even in young trees. The flowers cover the trees. Driving through them is like swimming through pink air, breathless and beautiful. As a child, we had one of these trees in our yard in Florida. I loved climbing into it when it was in bloom. To be surrounded by all the impossible amazing pink. I love being immersed in the memory and in this present dream of flowers and southern summer.

Downpour!

6-30-2017

More rain. More rain. More rain. Can you tell it has been raining off and on, drizzling, sprinkling, dripping, dropping, spritzing, spitting, for several days now… Our whole world is wet, soggy, damp, humid, craving the missing sun. I was driving back to the raft base after a day renting canoes. We even had a few brave customers who are ready to get wet in the river with the threat of rain. Suddenly, the sky opened up and dumped gallons, buckets, a drenching, blinding downpour. I could see no further than a few feet in front of me, wasn’t sure where the edge of the road was, so I slowed to a crawl, rolled up the windows, and heard over the pounding noise of rain hitting the car roof a weird buzzing noise. I pulled over, stopped briefly to listen. The buzzing had stopped. A few minutes later, the rain eased up enough to see down the road, so I continued toward my destination, driving through puddles big enough to make me nervous. Back at the base, as the rain continues to fall, I handed the paperwork of the over, then pulled out the phone to charge, and the cause of the buzzing noise was revealed! A weather alert: beware of flash flooding in your area! We all laughed, discharging the nervous tension of driving through the flooding downpour. Yes, it is Raining!

Sunset Over Gore Mountain

6-26-2017

Driving down the road a while after sunset, wanting to back at the tent before full dark. It has been raining off an on all day, the trees are wet and drippy, the sky is overcrowded with grey lumpy clouds. As I am driving around Gore Mountain I gaze up toward the west through the windshield and glimpse a deep burgundy red sun lit sky behind dark bruised blue grey clouds. The contrast of sky and cloud grabs my attention, so I pull over and watch the last of the red sunlight disappear behind the now purple grey clouds over the mountain. More rain is coming, but for now the vision a red and grey sky keeps me smiling.

Driving Into The Storm

5-18-2017

I drove down the mountain this evening to see a friend. We hung out for a couple of hours knitting and talking while her youngest child tried very hard not to go to bed: “I need to use the bathroom, I need a glass of water, I need to tell you something, I need to say goodnight to the gold fish, I’m too hot and itchy to sleep” She got increasingly creative. The humidity had increased to uncomfortable as a storm was brewing. We had three wonderful warm sunny days to build energy that promised to make a wicked thunder storm. As I got ready to leave, thunder was rumbling in the distance and lightening flickering behind the trees, noise and light coming from the direction I would soon be traveling. The storm was over the mountains and quickly headed this way.

As my car finally attained the main road, the wind kicked up buffeting my vehicle, and spewing new green leaves, flower petals, and litter across my path. The first tiny preliminary rain drops fell, spattering on the pollen coated windshield. Lightening arched across the night sky, illuminating the landscape with strobing electric blue light, the mountain (my home) a dark silhouette on the horizon. The pursuing darkness was blinding. Another couple of miles down the road and the sky opened up dropping a deluge, slowing my progress, wind pushing the car around, so that I had to hold tightly to the wheel. Lightening everywhere so that the darkness was almost effervescent. The bolts streaked across the whole sky, too numerous to count, blanketing blue, purple, white, and pink through the roiling clouds. Searing thick pulsing electric bolts hit the earth, revealing black mountain tops solid against the shimmering boiling strobing purple night sky.

I actually got a little nervous at the ferocity of the chaos erupting around me because I knew that kitties at home don’t like thunderstorms and I wasn’t there to comfort them. I however, love the thrill of experiencing thunderstorms: seeing lightening dance in the sky and the pink sparks and flames shower upward where it hits the earth, hearing and feeling the tremendous thunder shock rattle through the house, smelling ozone in the air from all the electricity, the tingling sensation of electric air, the humming sound rocks make right before lightening strikes, the sudden chill of gusting wind before the hail starts, the immense power and surging energy unleashed, sudden, random, and violent. Then when the storm passes, the perfect peace and tranquil quiet that follows after mother nature has blown off all her steam.

This storm passes quickly, as most thunderstorms do in the mountains. Ten miles down the road, headed up, I drive out the other side. Rain fitfully sputtering, steam rising off the the wet pavement, giant frogs all over the road soaking up the heat. I try not to run over them. Back at home, the rain has washed the pollen away, refilled the rain bucket, cooled of the oppressive humidity, and given all the plants a drink. As I step out of the car, the stars are visible through the last high wispy trailing clouds. Inside, the cats greet me lovingly, and we all climb into bed.