I Love Clouds


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


I love clouds. Always have. They’re beautiful.  They provide shade.  They provide life-giving rain. They provide entertainment for people who like to see pictures in the sky. They provide snow, which provides nitrogen to enrich the soil.

Sometimes clouds are scary.  Thunderheads can mean a rainstorm, or a tornado. They are accompanied, often, by high winds, thunder, and lightning.  It’s probably a good idea to stay near shelter when these guys come roaring through the neighborhood.

Growing up in Minnesota farm country, I had a fascination and a healthy respect for hail storms. The clouds would turn an ugly green/yellow, and you knew there was trouble.

Wizard of Oz, anyone?  Those funnels are nothing to play around with. The noise really is like an old-fashioned freight train bearing down on you. The winds are immense, and if you’re smart you go find a shelter until things settle down. I just want to emphasize here that this really is what it looks like.  Chilled a farmer’s heart, for sure, knowing he could lose all his crops in a matter of minutes.  The colors here are not exaggerated.  It’s eerie.

I remember one time when a couple of tornadoes traveling in tandem ripped through St. James lake, dividing it like Moses lifting his rod over the Red Sea.  Of course, the water flowed right back as the twisters danced through, but people who saw it were pretty amazed. I remember hearing that the funnels left what looked like plowed furrows in the ground as they made their approach.

Here’s an amazing picture:  A super cell storm cloud forming over Wyoming.

While my heart and soul respond to these storms with awe and excitement, I’m also keenly aware of the damage and heartbreak they can create.  People die.  There’s nothing exciting about that.

I think it’s just the amazing power they create that holds my attention and draws me to pictures and videos.  I have a grandson who loves storms, and he lives out in the Midwestern prairies where there’s plenty of storm activity during tornado season.  I get it, why he’s so interested.



Sudden Shifts

You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.


The beach is wonderful  near Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Soft sand, always a breeze pushing at your hair.  Sometimes, the breeze becomes wind, blowing away anything that isn’t secured.

The water was slate grey that day.  We had just settled on our beach chairs, and the gulls were flocking us because we had taken some snacks out of our totes. They were setting up an awful ruckus, notifying their buddies for miles around that some tourists thought they could actually eat on their beach!

When we put the food away, the gulls left.  When we got it back out, they descended like feathers out of a goose-down pillow. We played this little game with them for a while, but eventually we figured out a way to hid the cheese and crackers we passed from hand to hand.

Nibbling on our snacks, we noted that there were patches of dark rain all around the horizon.  We wondered how fast those rainclouds were moving, but we weren’t concerned.

We should have been.  The wind picked up considerably in a very short time. The surf grew more aggressive,  angry as it hissed onto the sand, crawling closer to our little nest with every heartbeat of the ocean.

And then the rain came.  We were drenched in just seconds as we quickly packed things up and made our way up toward the parking lot. It really wasn’t that far, but I had a hinky back.  I didn’t know yet that I had two lumbar disk herniations that were the cause of my pain.  All I knew was that every step caused sharp, jagged, breath-robbing bolts of ugliness down my back and legs.

“Go ahead, don’t wait for me!”  I called to my friends.  “Get into the car.  I’ll get there eventually!”

So they beat feet, already soaked but growing colder by the minute as the wind increased.  I glanced up at the sky, and wished I hadn’t.  I grew up in southern Minnesota farm country, and I knew what green-yellow clouds meant.  Hail was coming.

No sooner did that thought form than I was pelted with little sharp-edged drops of ice. I held my beach chair over my head and did my best to increase my turtle-like pace. The sand under my feet was soft and dry, not easy to walk in.  The hail seemed to increase in size, pelting me from every direction.   Other folks were running, racing to get out of the storm, but all I could do was plod.

I remembered a dream I used to have when I was very young.  I needed to run away from something awful, but I couldn’t make my feet and legs move. I was stuck in something I couldn’t see or feel, and no matter how hard I tried, I made no progress.

The awful thing never did catch me–until this moment!  Finally, finally I made it to the car where one of my friend pushed open the back door and I clambered in with my chair and my beach bag. What a relief!

As soon as I was under cover, the hail stopped, the wind decreased, and the sun peeked out and laughed at me.  As the clouds continued to blow further inland, the sky cleared to a beautiful blue. We looked at each other, laughed, and climbed back out of the car. We had the beach to ourselves for a little while, and we enjoyed the calm after the storm.

(This is a partly-true story.  Had to make it a little  more dramatic than it really was in order to fit the prompt.  But it could have happened this way. . . )