Monday, March 21, 2022

Spring’s second day brings a storm. Just like that, didn’t even have time to completely let it in. I rush out the door, vowing to squeeze in a quick walk before the rain comes down. If it decides not to stand us up. The air is heavy and thick with humidity, the scent of rain wafts around me. I remember when I’d run away from storms, and now I’m walking out the door to possibly meet one.

I’m listening to my audiobook, but thunder rumbles and growls, distracting me from the story. No point in trying to listen. Large storm filled raindrops plop ahead of me. I quicken my pace. I can probably make it home without getting drenched. My husband, always a storm tracker, but not never a storm chaser sends me a message. “I’m near the Little Free Library, not too far,” I reply. “There’s lightning, I’m coming to get you.”

So much for my walk, I’ll do some yoga later. My husband paces from one room to another, phone in hand, like an expectant father waiting for the sky to deliver. Sure enough, sheets of heavy rain start coming down, the wind picking up and slamming the windows wet. I sit down to write, I’m feeling a poem today. About the weather.

The rain has stopped, and the sun stands tall, saluting as the rain exits. I notice, but work with words stirring up in my head, until…

“At around 6:01 pm the national weather service reported a tornado on the ground near Jarrell…” my husband reads from his phone.

I keep writing.

He continues, “A confirmed tornado was reported over the I-35 flyover…” Not far from where my son works.

“He probably didn’t even notice,” I mumble.

“Call him to see if he’s okay.”

“I’m writing, you have your phone in your hand, you call him.”

He didn’t say it, but he was planning to go back to the radar that lives on his phone. He calls to check. “Are you okay?”

Nope, he didn’t, notice. Just a gust of wind and loss of power. Going home early.

We watch the news replay. It was right there. Close call, too close. It went right over his building.

“Are we going to die? We should totally go coffin shopping. I want my coffin to be long, the taller the coffin, the taller people think you are,” ‘tween interjects.

And, as quickly as those sheets of rain came down, the sun came out, and the storm went by, my words disappeared with them.

Snowstorm Post Script

The sun came out to see what it missed

Plunking water from a detached rain gutter


Kids back at the park laugh and carry on 
as if the freeze was only a dream

A Mini Cooper Car club member
back at work on a rebuild in the garage,
a can of Bud Light sits on its primed hood
it too, awaits a coat of paint

Two chihuahuas yip against me from across the street
their owner grumbles at them to quiet down

Normalcy hums, 
whatever that means,
zipping through neighborhood streets.
No rush hour zoom, 
but slow casual zips 
scope out damage you can't see 
on neighborhood streets
except for tree limbs piled curbside.

Damage runs deep in burst pipes
empty grocery store shelves
people boiling water to drink.

Shovels scrape, scrape, scraaape 
against concrete driveways
saws groan at broken tree limbs 
trying to hang on.

The last of the slush sloshes underneath my stride
evidence of snow and ice evaporates
One side of the sidewalk looks more like a post springtime rain shower,
the opposite proves otherwise.

Back outside after a week,
grateful it wasn't worse when it was for so many others.

A dry leaf gently cartwheels in front of me 
as if saying
"I've come back out to play!"

Along with the rest of us, picking up where we left off.

Texas Snowmageddon

It’s so cold…

I moved here to get away from the cold. I grew up in the Texas Panhandle. Plain. Windy, oh so windy. Tornado season turned my stomach in knots. A clear, spring morning turned into a dusty gale by noon where I’d spit dirt out of my teeth on the walk home from school. It wasn’t a two mile walk, but it could’ve been in that wind. Summers were hot and dry and winters were so cold. It never failed that I’d slip on the ice as I stepped out of Papa’s pickup holding onto the handle for dear life while my feet slipped out from under me. I’d gingerly step to the curb, get to the cleared off, salted sidewalk, and make it in to school, finding that one last patch of ice that curled its mean fingers under my heel to tease me.

Decades later, I’m praying our power doesn’t go out, thankful for the heat and legitimate snow days. Central Texas doesn’t get much snow. We had a snow day last month, one of those dustings of snow that resemble a poweered sugar coating. We can’t drive in icy weather around here, so I relished the day off. None of this virtual stuff either. The kids went out and played. I went out for a bit, but I’m so over the snow. I’m glad I didn’t have to go anywhere. My family laughs at our snow days. They keep on with business as usual, unlike those of us down here. But hey, a snow day is a snow day.

We get a few days of cold weather where we have to wear a heavy coat in the morning and at the end of the day. Last Thursday was one of those days. Except that the rain started turning into ice late that afternoon. Broken tree limbs blocked some lanes in the neighborhoods I drove through to get home. Two chunks from two different trees came down in the backyard with two coming down from trees in the front. Along our street, tree limbs hung over the curb as if someone had gone on a tree pruning spree, icicles still coating the leaves. I had a massage scheduled for Saturday and thankfully, it was only cold and the roads were clear. Until Sunday. Temperatures were down, the lowest I’ve experienced them here. Yesterday, there was snow. And power has been out all over the state.

Snow is nice to look at, but I never liked the cold weather. Didn’t ever like sliding on the ice underfoot. Snow sneaking into my gloves or coat sleeves annoyed me. Stepping on melted snow in my socks still makes me cringe. It’s pretty, but not fun. I have no desire to try snow skiing. Maybe it’s because I was born in summer. Maybe it’s because I don’t like messing with layers of clothes. Maybe it’s just uncomfortable. Snow is not my favorite thing. But a snow day or two? That’s a whole different story.