|Flipped bleachers at the Pemiscot County Fairgrounds.|
Back home in sunny California, the Golden State lived up to its name. The weather was generally pleasing with the rain interspersed fairly evenly across the seasons (when we weren't in the midst of a drought). Being in the Central Valley, we did have our share of wind and I loved it. Allergies didn't plague me so a walk on a windy day was pure heaven. On the edge of the valley, against the foothills, the wind would blow through the Pacheco Pass or push up over the western hills from the Coastal Mountains and pour down into the valley. There was nothing to stop its forward motion.
Usually, by the time it reached Turlock, it had spread out across the farmland and had become a soft breeze. But whether strong or gentle, it was usually always around. Spring was especially beautiful. The wind would blow through the almond orchards and for a few weeks we would have a faintly pink tinted "snowfall" as almond blossoms fluttered to the ground.
For the most part, winds didn't do much damage in my area. We did have our random tree falls but generally, they were not the usual occurrence. It wasn't until I arrived here that I even knew there was such a thing as a straight-line wind, a wind that blew horizontally to the ground. A quick Google search educated me on the wisdom of respecting a thunderstorm wind. The whole idea of wind and its sister, rain, took on an entirely new meaning for me.
The first thing I learned to do was walk the front and back yards after a good "gully washer", as my dad used to like to say. All manner of stuff was found - tree limbs, twigs, pummelled baby birds (that was a hard one), bird nests, unhatched eggshells, and small critters have all ended up in our yard.
But, next to all this, it was my vision of the shape of the wind that totally knocked me out. Remember February 24th, just twelve days ago? The Pirate and I were at Little Pizza Heaven enjoying our monthly music night with The Jax. We went out knowing the rain would be rough. We were actually on a tornado watch. Sometime into the evening, it turned into a tornado warning (though there was some disagreement about that because the sirens never went off). Anyway . . .
We lost the street lights momentarily and when they returned, I got my first look at the shape of wind when it's blasting through a horizontal rainfall. The swirls and sweeps and rushes of the wind are visible, exciting, and dramatic. It's like watching a flamenco dancer burning the ground with icy heat. Of course, I was mainly clueless as to what this could all mean but I certainly learned the next day when I read of two tornadoes directly north and directly south of us, both about equal distances from us. To say we were right in the middle of it, would not put too fine a point on it.
So now I have two elements of nature to respect: respect the river and respect the wind. Oh, and did I mention that we lost electrical power for about 4-5 hours? Oh, yes, we did. And now we are talking about getting a generator.