Sunday, September 29, 2019

in the still of the day

There is nothing quite as disconcerting as nature in repose.

The first experience I can remember was on 12 October 1962 -- what we from the Pacific Northwest still colloquially call The Columbus Day storm. The Big Blow.

I had just returned home from grade school. The afternoon had an eerie calm. No dogs barking. No birdsong. Just silence.

Well, silence from nature. People were still going about their mundane lives oblivious to the extratropical storm that was bearing down on us. Some claimed to see a mystical yellowish light in the western sky minutes before the storm hit.

With the exception of the light (the stuff  superstitions are made of), this morning was just as silent as that afternoon almost 57 years ago.

When I stepped out of my bedroom, there was no breeze, no chattering birds, no geckos smooching it up.  Just silence. In its silence, even the air seemed to hang heavy.

The comparison with my first big wind storm made me wonder if I had been wrong about the storm on its way here. The National Hurricane Center had predicted disturbance Sixteen would arrive here late this afternoon as a tropical storm. Nothing out of the norm for our summers.

But it felt as if the storm now re-christened Narda (as if it were some second-tier C.S. Lewis adventure) might have some surprises in store for us. I even ran across a friend who swore that it was a category three hurricane.

I once said I thought I would never experience anything as anti-climatic as an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I was wrong.

Last night our bay experienced one of our regular thunder storms. It was not related to Narda, but it certainly seemed like a fitting prelude to a true tropical storm.

Imagine being stuck in a timpani with a Jacob's ladder as your sole companion while by a testosterone-fueled teenager swings his mallets above as buckets of water continually pour over your head. That was our storm last night. I personally love those periodic shows.

But Narda was yet to arrive. It did this afternoon. Not as a hurricane. Not as a tropical storm. But as a tropical depression. Its passage over land had sapped most of its Thorian power.

No thunder. No lightning. A bit of a wind. And quite a bit of rain.

Enough rain to transform Barra de Navidad's streets into a miniature Venice. Of course, that means the contents of our sewer pipes that were once flowed underground are now floating down the streets just like -- well, just like Venice.

The rain is still falling. But it has been transformed into the type of soft rain that used to draw me to on the Oregon coast.

So, there you have it. If this had been an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, there would not be one memorable song. I guess that would be the same thing.

That is good enough for me. The farmers are getting their rain. For the rest of us, the aquifers are being refreshed.

Best of all, the temperature has fallen to a blessed 79 degrees. Tonight there will be no need for fans, let alone air conditioning.

I talked with some acquaintances this afternoon about the affect television news has had on our anxiety about weather. Every cloud now portends a Dorian.

No one was a better prophet on this, and most other social phenomenon, than Matt Groening. Summing it all up is the inestimable Kent Brockman:

Update: I may have been too hasty to call Narda over. We are now getting some healthy gusts of wind. I will let you know in the morning what our towns look like.

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