Once again I find myself with a TV on in the background, listening to the weather reports. Another line of thunderstorms is rolling across our region, playing havoc with wind, rain, hail, and very possibly more tornadoes. This is just a fact of life in Arkansas: air is warmed during the day, moisture feeds in from the Gulf region, and then stuff falls and blows from the sky until the the clouds are exhausted, only to reload for the next day. You normally think of this as a summer thing, but we have seen it happen as early as February and as late as October. The local news says that last night two people around the state died in storms, with others still unaccounted for (but hopefully staying with friends, etc.).
On the other hand, there are some positives that come from it. My grass is really, really green. My garden is likely to stay healthy and I won’t have to water it as much. And family time happens a bit easier. Last night the power went out because of the storms, and my wife and sons headed to the “safe room” (a.k.a. the laundry room!) to wait it out. They brought along a couple of decks of playing cards, snacks, flashlights, and an electric lantern. “Go Fish!” was the game of the hour, and a good time was had by all. As the wind picked up I headed back into our kitchen in order to watch the clouds outside, and witnessed some light marble-size hail, branches flying freely through the air, and several trees bent to impossible angles while the air blew through. I saw lots of lightning strikes and tried to calculate the distance by timing the delay in the thunder, but when the delay dropped to less than a second I decided to, uh, go check on the family…!
The power outage continued on into the evening, so at bedtime we just had the boys gather sleeping bags and sleep in our bedroom, since it is so close to the laundry. Having the lights out was an excuse to go to bed early, which happens rarely with two teenagers around, so we were all asleep by 9:30. Just before I nodded off I distinctly remember hearing the long, deep breath of peaceful sleep coming from around the room, and it was comforting, even as the rain continued to fall. I suppose that was just one more blessing to count, coming from an unexpected storm.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the recent storms and tornadoes throughout Arkansas.