Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Empty Face of A Twister

So one particularly wicked spring, in 1996, Bob Dole, running for the big P., was intoning platitudes a plenty, somewhere in America, entirely unaware that his words were perfectly syncopated with the rain... whoops!

The rain didn't care, however. It was falling with a regularity that gives certain months reputations, that for previous decades they had almost lost entirely. April of 1996.  It may not have rained every day.  But it certainly thunderstormed.  For about a month I drove my car to work on the farm and my smiling farmer friend, Chalmer, would sit there with a smile on his face looking up and out the window at the sky that could no longer torture him.  

"Might need the bushhog if this keeps up," he'd say in his Thorntown accent, which is in fact the way people in Zionsville used to talk, when it was actually in Indiana, not some virtuality of a bedroom community, populated with people dying to get back to Santa Barbara.

"Yeah, Chalmer," I'd say, "but then you'd be mowing for an hour, not seven."  

"Couple of hours," he'd say in that I'm being earnest, and about ready to laugh way that wasn't even an art to lose by my people.  

"Less than a six pack of beer, by far," I'd say.  

"Not for you, Wild-Man," he said, without hope of not laughing.

I joined him.

But things, in fact weren't so funny for me.  The rain meant no money.  Which was already something of a constant in the equation of my life.  This dead month of no work was a killer.  It was almost so bad, I'd have to get a job.  I was starting to feel a bit disoriented.  I usually really like this thunderstorm stuff.  Loved it, really.  One more thing to bandy about when I was feeling proud of the Midwest, my land, where I come from.  Thunderstorms!  Does London have real thunderstorms?  They probably think they do.  But come on.  Tornadoes?  Give me a break.  We're not in Tornado alley, here in Indiana, but man, we're so close, a few more people die than, let's just say, they'd like to.   In London, if they had Tornadoes, their famous Tower of London Crows might lose their apostolic succession.  Oh dear...

I love London (been there twice), but frankly, there is a thuderstorm plowing away, right this minute, outside my lovely window, and it sounds like what it is: pure mystery, a natural born liturgy for High Church of the Universe.  And... the only reason the Grendel of every big Supercell storm in Indiana: the occasional dozen Tornadoes that kill and maim what they find, isn't regarded as a natural born monster, is it's lack of regularity in form, size, and origin.  What monster could possibly be worse?  Only one with actual, readable, evil intention.  People will die this year or next, and the next, and the next.  The numbers are big, and scary.  But people never really freak.  For the truly honest monsters of our lives we lay as limp as a lamb in the jaws of a lion.  Despite our pride.

Hard not to kind of respect such an awful reality.  I have no choice really.  So for now, I love the screaming of the ionized air, as lighting three feet across just waltzes across flyover country, and I give my nod to the air from the Gulf of Mexico which is dumping that self same bodies water on my garden.  

What I couldn't of known back then, watching that water run down the windows of Chalmer's barn, like the balance of my checking account, was that the rain dropping on us wasn't living up to it's assigned metaphorical task of clean up duty.  No one's gonna get washed by this rain, in a sense.

And again, the reason is the Haber-Bosch Process

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