Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Valley: thunderstorms and power outages ... and cooler temps

It was a rollercoaster ride of storms yesterday in the Shenandoah Valley as black clouds built up behind the Alleghanies and, by early afternoon, the first claps of thunder could be heard in the distance. The wind picked up, the thunder became louder, and then the rains came ... glorious rain because this area has been dry the past few weeks. The week of near 100-degree weather two weeks ago parched the earth and, with little rain since, the garden was wilting.

A series of storms, one behind the other, continued all afternoon and into the evening, causing power outages in the area and temporary flooding conditions around streams. Limbs were torn from trees; leaves were plastered on roadways and buildings. Spectacular lightning lit the sky last night ... jagged streaks criss-crossing the stormy night.

"Horton Hatches the Egg:" A robin built a nest in the wisteria vine on the porch. It is in the exact same spot where a robin built a nest last year so I wondered if it was the same robin. She raised three little ones last year. We were able to see them from the window, and watched as they hatched, grew, and then I left for two weeks in Colorado. When I returned the little ones had graduated out of the nest and were gone. This year she is sitting on the nest again ... same location, same time frame as last year.

Yesterday one particular thunderstorm was more powerful than the previous ones with driving rain and wind ... the rain was blowing horizontally across the yard. I looked out the window to see the robin still faithfully sitting on her nest even as the wind ruffled her feathers and threatened to blow both bird and nest away.

It reminded me of that Dr. Seuss story, "Horton Hatches the Egg," the one where Horton the Elephant faithfully sat on the irresponsible Maysey bird's nest through wind and rain and sun ... he was not going to abandon his post because he had given his word. I laughed as I watched the robin and remembered that story. Not quite an elephant on a nest ... but I could almost hear Horton saying, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant ... an elephant's faithful 100%."

This morning the robin is still sitting on her nest. The air is clear ... low humidity and breezes and temps in the 70s make for a gorgeous sunny day. Temps for the rest of the week are to be in the 70s so it's cool and clear in the mountains for mid-June.

It's summer in the Valley....

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