The wind wuthered about the house during the night, scraping the branches of shrubbery against a corner, waking me several times.
By 5:30 the cats were encouraging me to get up and serve their breakfast.
I lay still for a bit, watching the fuzz of grey light beyond the window.
After 20 minutes of being purred at and tread upon, I resigned myself to the inevitable and tip-toed down the hallway, my pride of felines leading the way.
With the morning treat dished out I opened the sliding door and looked out on swirling clouds.
The thermometer in the carport stood at 70 degrees F.
I showered and dressed quickly and went outside, camera in my pocket.
Wind surged through tree branches.
If you look closely you can see the branches of nandina shrubs and the magnolia tree blown sideways.
Dark skies to the northeast beyond the magnolia tree.
I had on my house shoes, soft, lightweight clogs, not really suitable for a walk across the cornfield, but I was drawn by the strange grey light and the warm wind, so picked my way carefully along the fence line.
A study in shades of grey.
Wouldn't this make an intriguing cover illustration for a brooding gothic mystery?
Pebbles seemed untroubled by the wind, intent on her grazing.
A glimpse of sun so fleeting that it had disappeared behind clouds before I could focus the camera.
Looking across the back pasture toward the old tobacco barn where J. stores hay.
By now thunder was muttering in the distance.
Rain was on the way with the possibility of a power outage.
Crossing the dooryard on my way back to the house I contemplated my weeding efforts of yesterday.
If you enlarge the photo you can see the purple flowers of the formidable creeping weed
locally known as henbit.
J. had left on errands and I contemplated a day of answering letters [emails] and then a retreat downstairs
to the latest quilt project.
I had brought in wood and started a fire to banish the chill that lingers in the basement room.
S-I-L M. phoned to ask if I was aware that a tornado watch was posted.
"Tornado Alley" so-called runs west of Adair County, though of course such storms are unpredictable
and high winds can come roaring through.
When J. is home he follows storm paths on a doplar website.
Certainly there seemed nothing unsual here--just some wind and rain.
As rain began to spatter down I stood in the carport watching the cattle in the field beyond our south boundary fence.
Initially all the cattle were grouped around a large 'roll' of hay.
As the rain increased, several cows headed toward the shelter of the trees, their calves following.
Only moments elapsed between this photo and the one above.
You can see the darkness of the storm closing in as the cattle plod toward the woods.
This group was not about to leave their lunch.
J. arrived suddenly, fired up his laptop and began a commentary on the storm's path.
M. phoned again to give the latest report from the local station issuing the warnings.
Stepping outside J. picked up on the rushing sound of the wind as it howled along several ridges to the west.
"Round up the cats and go downstairs with them," he ordered.
The cats were disinclined to be rounded up!
I nabbed several who had found warm cushioned places to snooze--tired from their morning frenzy of announcing the weather.
A cat at a time I dumped several on the staircase, closing the door.
Alerted to something unusual the others began to skitter along the hallway.
Grabbing another and opening the door I pushed furry beings out of the way.
With all but two herded downstairs I gave up on the untouchable Wilbur and on Mima who had hidden under the bed.
J. stood watching and listening at the sliding door.
'Right," I said, crossly. 'I'm to huddle in the basement room with my cats and if anything happens I come up and try to locate you in the wreckage?'
I stomped downstairs creating a path through the assembled twitchy cats.
I stirred the fire in the wood stove, looked about me, listened to J. wandering about upstairs.
Putting my head round the door I asked if he was coming down.
'The storm's passed by,' he stated.
Rain dripped from the eaves and sparkled on the red leaf buds of the maple nearest the door.
A feeble sun peeked through, as grey clouds scudded northward leaving swaths of blue.
The cattle, unharmed and placid, returned to their roll of hay.
Willis picked his way daintily down the path from the barn, stepping carefully around puddles, coming to find J. in the garage.
An hour's drive north of us and an hour to the west there was damage.
There was severe damage and loss of life in Ohio, in Missouri and Illinois.
Tornado season has come early this year with the warm weather.
Nestled here in the folds of hollows and ridges we hope we are safe.
Still, when there is a storm on the move, we watch, we wait--and we pray.