Hunkerin’ Down

 

If watching the local news didn’t worry me enough my throbbing knees do.  Bone rubbing on bone from too many years of athletic abuse, I am usually able to control the pain with Voltaren gel and Tylenol Arthritis pain relief…not this morning.  My aching knees are much better predictors of impending violent low-pressure weather than any meteorologist.

My little piece of heaven is hunkering down awaiting a little piece of hell.  Violent weather has already killed two and it is on the way here.  Long lines of thunderstorms with predicted high winds and a worry that they may become circular in motion.

My home has weathered storms since 1892.  I have been privy to them since 1987 and we have dodged several weather bullets.  Whether tornadoes or straight-line winds, we have been a near miss or a glancing blow on many different occasions.  I haven’t cleared all the downed trees from our last brush with fate, this past winter’s ice storm.

The floors and cabinets found in the newer addition came from our first near miss.  An ancient pecan came down next to the house…followed by an ancient black walnut that blocked traffic for hours on Highway 11.  Later our renovator would turn them into pecan floors, black walnut cabinets, and countertops now gracing our home.  I’d just soon have left them upright and in the ground.

I just stepped out on to the porch.  The air is humid and the breeze tropical.  Every time the wind ceases, I wonder if this is the calm before the storm and check the color of the western sky.

A couple of decades after our first brush with fate, I arrive home one evening to thick, hot and humid, still air and a sky that had turned a brassy, sick green.  I took my bike off my car as nearby thunder rolled; I heard a locomotive coming over my western hilltops…there is no railroad beyond my western hilltops.

I barely made it inside and hunkered down in a hallway with my bride and two puppy dogs before all hell broke loose.  Thirty or so downed trees stacked like Pick Up Sticks in the nearby ravine greeted me the next morning along with a storage building ripped open by the falling top of a tulip poplar and a fence line smashed by a persimmon tree.

On the eastern side of the high rim of hills, the local camp, Lookup Lodge, found themselves trapped with their charges and spent a night without power, their escape routes blocked by downed trees.  My little piece of heaven had dodged another direct hit.

We have a wildlife wilderness filled with pecans, persimmon, black walnuts, hemlocks, tulip poplars, and oaks.  That’s just around the house.  We love them…most of the time…but not during the season of spring and summer storms.  Big tall trees that could easily reach us if they were to come down.   I can’t help but wonder if this will be the big one.

So, we are hunkered down watching the line of thunderstorms march from Atlanta on tv, keeping up with tornado alerts, making sure our cellphones are charged and water is taken up…just in case.  Sometimes I think I liked it better when we didn’t know…days before Doppler radar and other improvements in weather forecasting.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear when forecasting was “Red sky in morning, sailors take warning” or a falling barometer meant “Batten down the hatches matey, we’re in for a blow.”  Days when my knees didn’t ache so much…or at all.

I don’t wish ill on anyone so I don’t know what my prayers should be.  I guess I’ll pray for it all.  “Please keep everyone safe and undamaged.”  Just in case, make sure all of you in the line of fire are hunkered down someplace safe.  Wise men have said, “God takes care of those who take care of themselves.”  Please, “Take care of yourselves.”

Please follow Don Miller’s author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM.

Image from https://stockhead.com.au/resources/stormy-weather-washes-away-profits-at-alkane-resources/

 

 

 

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Kaleidoscope Eyes

 

I’ve never been on a trip in my life…a drug trip.  I’ve abused alcohol on occasion, made a road trip or a dozen, but I’ve never dropped a tab of acid.  For some reason, my mind is broken, and I now understand the description kaleidoscope eyes despite mine not being drug induced.  Unlike the lyrics from the old Beatle’s song, there were no “tangerine trees and marmalade skies.”  My scrambled and flaring neurons fired in black and white.  It was just a damn dream!

I slept in my recliner.  Upright to offset the post nasal drip exacerbated by our extended ragweed season and the sudden change from a long summer to the late arrival of fall.  Undoubtedly my location confused my blind and aging puppy and sent me down a path that didn’t include “cellophane flowers of yellow and green”.  It bewildered me just as badly as any of the lyrics from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Tilly pawed me awake begging for attention, a treat or both.  The thirteen-year-old would not be quieted until she received her puppy treat and an extended belly rub while lying on her back on my lap.  Finally satiated and bored, she left me for her mommy’s side.  I looked at my watch and found it to be just a bit after three…maybe it was a little after three, now I’m not sure…of the time or the blind puppy dog receiving a tummy rub.  Did that really happen?

I tried to return to sleep, my mind misfiring, sparking like an electrical short.  My thoughts were on our aging puppies, their aging owners and friends I have lost or are losing and not on “the girl with the sun in her eyes”.

When you’re sixty-eight thoughts of your own mortality lurk nearby, no matter how much you try to push it out of your mind.  There are fewer sands in the hourglass.  I don’t dwell on those thoughts but they tend to explode unexpectedly.  I pushed them aside, and they shoved back…hard.  My thoughts seemed to be on a repeating loop, a loop flashing from scene to scene, person to person, my own version of Dante’s Inferno on rewind.

After fifteen minutes of futility, I decided I was beating a dead mule when it came to sleeping.  I needed to get up and be productive or read or watch TV…something to remove the broken kaleidoscope in my mind or at least shade the sparking.  Looking at my watch my scalp crawled.  My loop had not lasted fifteen minutes, it had lasted over two hours.  Every timepiece in my house told me the same thing, two hours had passed.

According to my newest technological marvel, my Fitbit, I had never been awake.  I don’t know which is worse, a lost two hours or living a dream so real it doesn’t seem to be a dream.  Was my puppy even there?

The dream has been lost.  It’s memory rendered like a wind-torn fog.  If it is truly gone why am I still under its influence.  A four-mile walk and a church service later I am self-medicating with a beer…or five.  Maybe I should just listen to Judy in Disguise.  The words make no better sense than my dream or the old Beatle’s tune…but it does seem to be a happier song.

The image is  from Deviant Art at https://www.deviantart.com/ninjahekla/art/Kaleidoscope-Eyes-114938033

For other gentle musings go to Don Miller’s author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM