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Friday, 12 August 2011

It’s sunny and calm out there, with a clear blue sky and the little fire on which I cooked my steak is slowly dying. I’ve just dumped a load of dead sand-burs on it to spread a little smoke around and upset the insect life. However, there’s a tornado watch in effect for our part of the state as I write this – so hang onto your hats. We had a fair bit of excitement last night, on which more later, and were threatened by this beautiful cloud this afternoon. Threatened but not affected.

A couple of eventful days have passed. Not only have I been to town and had a haircut, spent an hour at the dentist and come out $250 lighter, but an awful lot more comfortable, but I have  extended this manuscript in progress to around 25,000 words. I almost blanche to hear myself say as much; it seems an almost insane rate of progress, but I think I’d been under-estimating, seriously under-estimating, how much work I had already done towards creating a narrative of my time here – namely, in the blog. What I’ve found, now that I’ve got that tricky beginning out of the way, is that substantial chunks of my daily reflections slot right in. They require trimming and editing, which I’m mostly doing as I go, and of course I have to replace the many photographs with verbal descriptions; but mostly that’s not proving too difficult. I am hugely relieved, mainly because this means I should finish my time here – in less than  eight weeks – with something close to a completed manuscript, and I really didn’t think that was a possibility this time last week. Just the small matter of finding a publisher. I shall start in Nebraska.

So, yesterday… and another storm which has almost taken out the road and finally persuaded me that the day of the vegetable garden has passed. I can’t see even the valiant tomatoes recovering from this.


We had hail, thunder, torrential rain, high winds, and the temperature falling thirty degrees. Before it was over I was out there with my camera.



These storms are so dramatic, so unpredictable. I don’t want to see anybody, or their property, to come to grief, but for purely selfish reasons – namely, a desire to feed my unquenchable appetite for extreme weather - the more the better.

What impressed me most about this storm was the aftermath, with the setting sun emerging to illuminate the eastern sky.


 





I wrote the above early Thursday evening. At around midnight, just after I’d fallen asleep, I was awoken by another storm which raged for well over an hour. I was soon re-arranging buckets upstairs and down and pressing my washing-up bowl into service as water splashed into the living room about a foot from where I have my bed. Meanwhile a bat swooped around the house in manic circles, the lightning flashed almost continuously, and the thunder came in a series of bangs that rattled the windows. Fortunately, the electricity supply was uninterrupted. Flicked on and off a few times, but kept going.

By the time I got back to bed it was two thirty, and I was reflecting on a good decision yesterday when I left Mercy at the top of the hill. That trail was rough yesterday; I suspect it will be impassable this morning.