Notes from the Waxhaws


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This has been an unusually violent Spring season. Three weeks ago we had hailstorms move through the area. The hailstones here in Lancaster were golf ball-sized, and left some dings in both of our cars. A little further north in Fort Mill, the hailstones were much larger. Some described them as being as big as baseballs, and they did much damage, both to autos and houses.

Last night I awoke about 12:30, to the sound of an approaching thunderstorm. There was definitely something fierce coming in from the north. I got out of bed and closed the windows that were open, since the wind was starting to pick up. As the lightning flashed, and the thunder grew louder, the dogs became alarmed. Tinker usually gets silent during thunderstorms, and burrows further under the bed. Belle, on the other hand, starts barking in defiance at every thunder clap. I lifted her up onto the bed, and we rode out the storm together…Belle kept watch, while I monitored the weather radar on my iPhone (sometimes, too much information can be a bad thing).

At the height of the storm, there was a loud crack, and a brilliant flash of light. That sounded a little too close. After about twenty minutes of wind and torrential rain, the storm had passed through (at about 50 mph, according to the severe weather alert). Everything calmed down, and we all, gratefully, fell back asleep.

In the early morning light, when I was leaving for work, I noticed that one of our Sweetgum trees, about 50 feet from the house, and maybe 40 feet in height, had been split in half, with the top half now lying on the ground. Most likely, it had been hit by a bolt of lightning…the loud crack that we heard in the middle of the night.

Alone in the night, during a storm such as the one last night, one begins to appreciate the tenuousness of life. The little house that I live in becomes like a ship at sea, subject to the whims of nature, to the random track of an atmospheric disturbance that has no care of what lies in its path.

Written by Jim

May 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Country Living, Nature

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