Friday, May 09, 2008

Strawberries & tornadoes...

Strawberry season is upon us and so, it appears, is the tornado season as well and we have just had a tasting of both and the strawberries come out on top.

Wednesday threw us a bit off our game plan when we spent the afternoon picking about 15 lbs of strawberries after our regular co-op home school group. Typically we would come home and each child attack a math lesson followed by our 3 pm chores. Instead, we gorged on strawberries and prepared strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Thursday morning I awoke with a severe headache and a somewhat jaundiced attitude that did not improve as I strolled through the house trying to regain the momentum we had attained earlier in the week. Finally I declared it was a cleaning day and, as such, a school holiday. This was received with mixed feelings as you can well imagine...

No school VS c l e a n i n g.

None the less everyone rallied and by about 4 pm I was well satisfied and we called it a day and I headed out to do a few chores with Hugo. I was struck by the pattern of the breezes and felt unsettled by them. Each time I entered a building and then came out I was impressed by the increasing humidity. Despite the almost continuous shifting breeze, there was a stillness to the air that bothered me.

Our chores finished, Hugo and I returned home to a simple dinner of chicken strips, fries and left over veggies. Due to the number of strips and fries one needs to cook in order to feed ten, we ate in shifts. Since we had already done so much cleaning the supper chores were quickly completed and we all went our separate ways. I to my room to tidy it a little and listen to some online talk shows and most of the children outside to play in the back. The breeze began to pick up and before long could really be called windy and I soon called the children in. We settled in for the evening and shortly the little ones were asleep and older children were reading in their rooms while Hugo and I watched the first disk of the seventh season of 24.

Despite the rapid development of the plot line, I was somewhat distracted by my still pounding head and the steadily increasing lightning. There was little thunder but the lightning was almost continuous. Anyone who has watched the opening scene of Twister will remember the continuous lightening strikes and somehow the movie has been able to convey well the very atmosphere in the shifting wind that proceeds this type of weather. This was how it was last night.

Finally close to eleven we shut off 24 and I decided to check the forecast. We were under, not a tornado watch, but a warning. I called Hugo who turned on his scanner, and we learned almost immediately that we were within miles of a tornado but were unsure what direction it was heading. However, it was moving at about 46 miles an hour. Quickly we changed back into our clothing and got the children up telling them to dress quickly. I grabbed Emma, soundly asleep, off her bottom bunk and Hugo grabbed Elsa off our bed. Everyone else shepherded themselves downstairs where we huddled on the couches, Emma and Elsa still dreaming their dreams.

With the scanner in the background we prayed a decade of the Rosary and called our only neighbours to warn them. Thankfully we learned the tornado was moving away from us but listened helplessly as it headed to nearby Greensboro. More smaller tornadoes were reported and we sent the children to bed while we stayed up until 1:30 listening to the scanner until we were certain all danger was passed. In the morning we learned the tornado that hit Greensboro was an F3 and thankfully only one life was lost and miraculously only a few people were injured. Some from cars overturning in the highway, and another when a building collapsed.

Tonight we are again with that ominous stillness to the air but, as of yet, the sun is shining and the clouds are few. We are under a severe thunderstorm warning but so far, not a tornado warning. Let's pray it stays that way.

Sadly the strawberry season is no where as near as long as the tornado season. If only we could reverse that somehow, eh?

(Correction, initial reports were that the tornado that hit Greensboro was an F3 but it has been downgraded to an F2, to read more about it click here. My three older children, who all live in Gaston County, slept through the sudden severe weather band that lead to another twister (Also an F2) that left a 7 mile path of damage through the county at about 2 am. An F3 touched down in the Clemons area. To read more click here. Note these links may stop working in a day or two.) Read more!