Wednesday, July 15, 2015


 Sunset last night, after the storm

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that the long drive to town scares me witless. Miles upon endless miles of narrow, harrowing, dangerous - not to mention winding - mountain roads. I've never gotten used to it, and every time I attempt to go, my procrastination thwarts my efforts.

I wanted to drive to town last Friday but the weather was stormy (as usual). Storms continued all weekend and through Monday. On Tuesday the rain subsided and I figured it was now or never. It was very cloudy, humid, and thunder rumbled in the distance. That's nearly perfect weather for here.

Five minutes into my drive down the mountain road it started raining. Then it poured. By the time I arrived at the edge of town the rain was so torrential that I could hardly see.

My first stop was at the town dump, where I have to take my trash (there is no garbage pick-up in the mountains). By the time I got out of there the storm gained fierce momentum and was so bad that I had to stop at the side of the road.

For nearly an hour, I was trapped in the car - which was being rocked by the wind. Big tree branches fell around me and hail pelted the windshield (which, by the way, is still cracked from the cold last winter). Lightning zapped dangerously close.

When it finally cleared enough to resume my journey, debris was everywhere and roads were flooded. My first stop in town was the bank and their computers were down. Someone told me that our county had just been under a tornado warning.

Hell, this is exactly what it was always like in the Missouri Ozarks. That's the only reason I left.

I won't bother describing the endless errands I had to run all over town - but the process took at least two hours. On the way home the weather looked very bleak again. 

Less than a mile from the side turn-off which goes to my house, there was a road block. Police, emergency vehicles, etc. The highway ahead was blocked with fallen power lines and toppled trees. Fortunately, I was so close to home that they let me through.

Naturally, when I got in the house there was no power. And naturally I had loads of groceries that needed to be frozen or refrigerated.

I called my cousin (who lives 15 miles away) to make sure she was all right (she's been sick the past two weeks). Then I prepared for a long dark night. 

There is no way to describe the absolute impenetrable darkness when you're without electricity in this backwoods wilderness. 

The sunset was blood red and very dramatic, and the thick air was charged with lightning. I went out on the front porch and took a few photos, just as darkness was devouring the forest. I could hardly see and the photos don't do justice to the scene.

Naturally, my cat Scruffy bounded out the front door and went off into the woods. I wasn't about to go after her on a wild goose chase. As I tried to get in the front door I accidentally tripped over my other cat Bosco. I cut my bare toes on the metal door sill (or whatever the hell it's called) and fell flat on my face.

My profanities echoed through the forest.

So how did the night end?

Scruffy eventually returned. I did a lot of nothing in the dark. Another huge storm blew in around 10:00, and I laid in bed watching the wicked lightning from the window. At midnight I lit a candle and feasted on pretzels and a can of Coke. Then I went to bed again and dozed in the company of cats.

When I awoke near dawn, the power was back on. I finally made a sandwich and fed the cats.

So here I am - at the computer at dawn, eating a sandwich and preparing for another day. I have no doubt that I'll nap. I am completely exhausted.


Cabinet of Curious Treasures 


  1. Oil lamps, candles, a generator, little things to keep handy living almost off the grid. Reminds me why I like living in the city.

  2. The eye of the storm made a pretty picture. You had lots of time to think about where you want to live next.

  3. That sounds like the kind of excitement I can live without! But that sky is blood curdlingly (is that a word?) good - I love it.

  4. That sunset invokes emotion. There is something about a storm, the wind and the rain that can make you very introspective. I like to sit and watch them, like you did. Though one must be careful of the lightning. I knew a man who was hit by lightening twice in his life just sitting on his porch. And he lived to tell the tale. But he was never quite himself again. I'm glad the cat came back. I'd hate to think of her alone in the woods with god knows what stalking her. I like going barefoot too, but it makes you vulnerable as your poor toes discovered. Hope the fall didn't exacerbate your back troubles. And finally, as for that treacherous ride you must take to and from your new abode, I pray you never end up in a ditch hurt. PS) I hope your cousin feels better soon.

  5. There's something magical about that sunset. Haven't seen one quite so red since Oakland last caught fire. The mountains have pitched you up into the weather but you feel strongly and observe keenly; there might be a reason nature drew you there. As to barefoot abrasions, I too bloodily battled doorsills
    'til Norma made me wear crocs and park them in the porch. Go thou and do likewise (sorry, still in minister mode).

  6. I think you need to check before you venture out to town.

  7. Perhaps you need do get a generator too.

  8. I never would've guessed Tennessee could be so inhospitable! It doesn't sound as if Survivor has anything on your neighborhood. (Not that I've ever seen an episode ... just saying.)

    I'm delighted to hear Scruffy made it home in one piece!

  9. Red skies at night, sailor's delight. right? Does that mean the rain has finally ended?

  10. As others above have mentioned, I think a generator would be a wise investment. And some water. And candles. And matches. And flashlights. And batteries. And MRE's. And a first aid kit. And a gun. ~~~ NB

    1. ....and a sled with a team of huskies and some pack mules and a St. Bernard with a keg of whiskey.......and a brawny and congenial mountain guide......

  11. Geez Jon, maybe you better rethink living in that mountain paradise of yours. Man oh man, the way I run to the local grocery store (three miles straight up the road), I would go nuts with frustration living where you live, no matter how beautiful. When we lived in Pennsylvania, almost every time a strong wind blew through, we lost power. At least twice a month. I am so glad I got out of that trap. I made it a point to live where there were very few trees. By the way, I think it's safe to let Scuffy out. He'll come back. I always thought it was nice to have a cat or cats who had the freedom to go out. My Mom had three of them, kittens she found in a field from a feral cat Mother. Those cats stayed outside most of the day, hung around the house but always came in at night. I think you could have the same thing. I'm going on way too long here. Have a great day!

    1. Jon, Please do not listen to Ron. It is Never safe to let a cat out, whether it's in the country or the city. Keep them indoors where they are safe.

    2. I always keep my cats indoors mainly because it's healthy. Whenever cats are outside they are prone to getting ticks, fleas, and diseases - not to mention all the wild animals that are around here.

  12. I had this niggling sensation there was something in one of your recent posts that caught my fancy.
    "As darkness was devouring the forest ...."

    Love it, Jon!


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