Monday, December 6, 2021

Thunder Before Day-Break: Weather Journal

View toward the south ravine edge a few minutes past noon.

Waking around 4 A.M. is normal for me. This Monday morning I had barely time to roll over, tug at my pillows, before I registered the mutter of thunder. Desultory flashes of lightning blinked through the open window curtains, reflecting harshly in my big dresser mirror on the opposite wall.

We've enjoyed a week of balmy weather--it had been 62 F. when we went to bed on Sunday evening.
Clearly change was arriving, with fanfare.

The thunder increased in volume, lightning pulsed into the bedroom.
During the next hour the storm moved close bringing rain that pounded down, then began a pattern of retreat and regroup. The sound of thunder tapered off, lightning subsided--10 minutes of quiet followed by the return of cracking, ear-assaulting booms. 

I don't like storms.
I lay tensely still, eyes closing against the searing slashes of light.
Robert-cat, whose fear of thunderstorms is pitiable, huddled against me.
When I stroked his long silky fur he managed a nervous purr.
A particularly loud crash of thunder sent Robert scurrying from the room and Jim suddenly loomed out of the darkness.
'Shouldn't you disconnect the internet?' he asked.
He moved ahead of me into the living room, turning on the light in the alcove where my desk sits.
Scuffling into my slippers, wondering why I hadn't thought of the at risk wifi modem, I dropped to my knees and crawled beneath the desk, flipped off the switch on the surge strip which holds the plugs to PC, printer, all the bits and pieces which connect us to the world.

As I backed carefully from under the desk , hauled myself to my feet, there was a series of loud crackling pops and the cordless phone lit up in a brilliant display before the keypad turned black.
I screamed.
The cats who had gathered round to assist me [a human under the desk immediately becomes a person of interest] skittered in all directions, tails inflated.
Cautiously removing the phone from its cradle I stared at the message on the screen advising me that there was 'no power to the base.'
Time to dress, to turn on the front porch light and view the shimmer of wind-flung rain, to feel the cooling air. The cats huddled by the door, unwilling to go out for a morning walk.
The storm continued to clatter and fizz, menacing in the unquiet darkness outside.

Anticipating that we could lose power, I brewed the morning decaf, Jim stoked up the woodstove.
When the storm begrudgingly muttered off on its final round, I flipped the power strip back on.
We watched the row of lights on the modem flicker and steady.
I rummaged out an old landline phone, plugged it in. No dial tone.
I messaged our grandson who suggested that lightning had taken out the side of the 'splitter' that powered our land line.

The retreating thunderstorm left a legacy of brief light showers, a chilly wind and dropping temperatures.
Around noon the sun began to break through the rapidly sailing clouds, glimmering on the runnels of water in the lane, sparkling on drifts of fallen leaves and wet grass.

I went outside with my camera, standing on the west end of the back porch to take this shot of the now pruned wall garden.

Jim pulled on a warm jacket and gloves and trundled about with his latest tractor, started a truck, moved his big trailer down the lane near the shed.
Several of the cats tip-toed out, testing the damp with cautious feet.
I walked up the lane to the [empty] mailbox, clutching my hood tightly around my face against the bite of the wind.
In anticipation of freezing temperatures expected tonight I dragged in the two large rosemarys from the back porch along with the now leafless lemon verbena. These have found a lodging for now in front of the big windows in the downstairs living room. 
I settled at my sewing machine, contented to resume the quilting project that was laid aside when we were ill.
The kittens sniffed at the plant tubs, poked inquiringly at the rosemary branches.
As I finish writing this at 8:30 P.M. the outside temperature has fallen to 34 F with 10 degrees still to reach the predicted overnight low of 24 F.
The night is dark with a few stars pricking through the black sky.
The scent of wood smoke hangs in the chilly air.
Winter seems a closer reality.



  1. Oh gosh - what a rude awakening, and thank heavens you ripped the wi-fi out just in time. Hope you don't have to wait too long to get your phone line repaired.

    I'm about to dash to Llandod for provisions (largely unneeded if I am honest!!) before the next named Storm (Barra) hits us.

    1. Jennie; We do think we shut down the wifi modem in the nick of time--we've lost several to T-storms in the past--and it can takes weeks for our service provider to replace, after maddening phone calls that eventually connect to someone in India [?]
      I think this instinct to bolster the larder ahead of a storm is an old one--remnant of a time when travel and supply sources were both more difficult.

  2. The crawling under desks, etc. could have well been happening here. I think it must surely be good exercise so there's some good in every ill wind. The storm blew through here too, but left us with only .2 of an inch of rain. We were hoping for more. I feel badly that I leave my rosemary, along with thyme and sage, outdoors all winter.

    1. Mary; Crawling about under and behind the desk surely points up a decrease in flexibility! Rosemary can stand some mildly cold weather, but I have lost plants left outdoors and uncovered when temps dip into the low 20's. Purple sage and the tri-colored variety aren't winter hardy here, but salvia officinalis usually comes through the cold months.