Friday, March 02, 2007

Spring Green and the Land of Oz

I am going to love my country commute even more when spring arrives. There are already signs that its arrival is just around the corner:

Tractors are tilling up the cotton fields
Horses are frolicking in the green grassy pastures
New calves are playing little calf games
Brahman bulls are bucking the authority of the rancher (he settled down with a touch of the cattle prod, but there for a minute I thought he was going to make a break for it)
Tender buds are forming on the trees
Dead skunks are littering the pavement

That last one makes for a fragrant ride to work. I'm going to wear out the button on the electric windows lowering them an inch to let the stink out.

And, of course, this is the season for unstable weather patterns. Last night a tornado tore through a school in Alabama and the news this morning was full of photos of the aftermath. I thought to myself that there is one experience I hope I never have. I have no desire to see a tornado up close and personal. I can't fathom what drives the storm chasers.

I've actually had a distant encounter with a tornado, but I have very little memory of it. In fact I hesitate to mention it at all because I don't know how much I actually remember and how much is memories of others that I've adopted as my own. I do have several very clear flashes of the day that are all mine.

I was probably 3 or 4 at the time. We were visiting the kinfolk in Elgin and I've been told that Mother and I were napping in the back bedroom. One of those clear flashes is looking through the screen window in that room, so I fully believe that I was lying on the bed close to the window. The next thing I think I know is being hustled to the truck and becoming aware that the grownups had decided to drive out from under the threat of a tornado that had formed and looked to be heading our way. I don't think I knew what all the fuss was about, but I remember the sense of urgency and I can remember looking up through the pickup window.

I've been told that we were driving away and came to a crossroads where it was unclear which direction would be the best escape route. About that time the tail of the tornado took a little jig in one of the directions and we turned in the opposite.

I'm not sure what happened next. I guess the storm passed over and the fear went with it. I can remember that we encountered my father on the road, driving back from whereever he had been and we stopped. I have a clear memory of looking out the driver's window at my father in the other car.

I'm hoping that was my brush with the Land of Oz and that I never get another experience with it. After all, there's no place like home.


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