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Storm Central


Monday Afternoon

I've got a sunburn under my chin.

Everywhere else was either covered or slathered with SPF 45, but under my chin? My eyes are burning,too. The angle of the sun, I guess. Last time I remember looking like this was waaay back when I was 17, working for the Katy Railroad one summer. The sun off the rails barbecued me done to a turn.

I wish I did more paddling at home. It's great exercise, probably good for my back, and if you get too hot you can always practice your roll. But every time I think of it, I think again. That Texas sun is just a killer. I can remember actually liking it when I was younger. Go figure.

There's a peculiar wind that rises on the lake here. You feel it first as a sudden chill. Then you can hear it gathering force in the hills around. It's mostly from the north, I guess. No thunder. Just an almost visible wall of wind that sweeps across the water, over you, through you, knocking the boat sideways, moving it widdershins over the water.

But there's nothing behind it. It lasts maybe an interesting minute or two, then it's gone.

The choppy white caps catch up a few seconds later and bounce you around a bit. You look up in the sky, expecting a storm, but there's nothing there. It's exactly like something powerful, with huge wings, swept by overhead. But again, there's nothing there. The sky is painted china blue, the clouds are still, white, and fluffy, and the sun smiles on everything.

And then you begin to sweat.

It happened twice in the space of an hour, just before noon. Like a breath on the water. Like someone cooling their tea. Spooky.

A real storm blew up around 3 pm, and lightning chased me off the lake. I don't fool around with that stuff. It's a little after 4 now. I drug the kayak up on the grass in the cove below the trailer, but the truck is still way down the other end of the lake.

When the Ranger came by to collect the rent, he gave me some fishing advice: "Go up Castle Creek," he said, " and use the black Wooly Boogers."

Maybe tomorrow. I couldn't face a wooly booger right now.

All the storms I've seen in the Black Hills have been violent, electric, thunderous, relatively dry, and short. Listen to me. I haven't been here a week yet. But it has stormed every day. Maybe this one will let up shortly, and I'll paddle back to the truck.

Or there's always shank's mare.

It's kind of nice, though, sitting in the trailer, listening to the rain. I feel a nap coming on.

Uh oh.

Is that hail?


PS, later:

It was, but not much. But the TV guy says a little south of here they had "softball sized hail". I never saw such a thing, and don't know whether to credit it, but that's what he said. A thing like that could kill a man, or sink a boat. Not to mention renovate a trailer.

The Sun is out again. Bye.

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