Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Calm After The Storm

It went from daylight to dark in a matter of seconds. I was concentrating on a project at work, when suddenly there was a "shift." I glanced up at the window to the right of my desk, shocked to see that day had turned to night. In the time it took me to stand up and walk to the hallway, a ferocious storm descended with a whoosh that immediately turned into a roar. I froze at the end of the hallway, heart racing. That sound... was it the sound of a train? Those interviews they show on The Weather Channel replayed in my panicked brain:

"Mama and me, we heard what sounded like a train, and next thing we knew we were sitting in the front yard next to the birdbath!"

It's a good thing it wasn't a tornado because by the time I'd made up my mind as to whether it did, or didn't, sound like a train I would have been blown into the next county. Thankfully, all this indecisiveness happened at the end of the ground floor hallway, which is almost underground, so hopefully that would have worked in my favor. It was over as quickly as it began, the intense and terrifying storm subsiding to a benign steady rain that continued for another hour or so. Sirens wailed and emergency vehicles screamed up and down the street. I found out later that while there were no confirmed reports of a tornado, the winds accompanying the storm reached 60 mph, taking down many trees and power lines in the area.

Lady and Lucky rode out the storm at home without incident. This is cause for great celebration, as a couple of years ago, Lady's thunderstorm anxiety was turning into a full blown phobia. Even worse, it rubbed off on Lucky - who previously had been only mildly nervous during thunderstorms. By the summer of 2009, every time thunder rumbled in the distance, both dogs would become panting, pacing Velcro dogs. If you went into the kitchen, they went into the kitchen. Need a bathroom break? You'd have company. The sight of a big German Shepherd trembling and curled around your feet in that small space underneath the computer desk is just plain pitiful. But all the advice and the occasional doggie Valium seems to have worked. It took all kinds of willpower not to comfort and baby talk Lady when she was so terrified. But acting as if everything was hunky dory and not responding to the displays of fear really worked. I'd allow for the occasional pat of reassurance, but generally ignored all the cowering, pacing, and panting. Now she doesn't even need the doggie Valium. And because Lady has stopped having extreme reactions to storms, Lucky has too. Yaaaay for the brave doggies!!

The next morning, the sun rose on a transformed landscape, bright and washed clean by the previous night's rain. The sky was liquid blue topaz, and every surface sparkled with rain drops. Even though I should have hurried off to work, I couldn't resist grabbing my camera and taking a brief walk through the garden. Some moments just beg you to abandon schedule and routine. Enjoy the photos.


  1. Phew! So happy that you were able to nip the thunderstorm phobia in the bud . . . and speaking of buds, your photos are delightful, the color of that first one is spectacular. Our 5 foot high fence only has 1 foot left showing at the top, so it will be a while before I see buds up here! LOL And relieved that you are all safe, m'dear. :-)

  2. Those storms can be so scary. I grew up in "tornado alley" and we usually had a couple of storms each year. The worst was they always read us "Night of the Twisters" at school, which is so frightening. I can't imagine how terrified the pooches must have been, especially because they don't realize what's going on.

  3. My old girl Raven was terrified of thunder too and you're right, it's hard to not comfort them. She was completely velcro during storms as well, although Tonka doesn't seem fazed by much of anything. Well, except the mailman...

    Your pictures are beautiful!

  4. Yes, beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are Ok now xx

  5. Thanks everyone. There was something about the fury of the storm followed by the peaceful and beautiful morning that was so striking. There's probably a life metaphor in there somewhere...

  6. It was almost the exact same here! (Except there were tornadoes......) But hey, the day after, it was BEAUTIFUL despite the occasional tree down, and and a bush in our front yard, but still. BEAUTIFUL!

    (But just to let you know, no tornado right near us, but HIGH winds and tornadoes in the surrounding areas.)