After ...

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"The Muse and I were fortunately not victims of anything …"

My sister hid in her bedroom closet with her dog while my brother-in-law stood before the television. The Muse and I had simultaneously received a tornado warning on our iPhones and we were relying upon the locals to tell us what to do. The Muse grew up in tornado country. I had not. The announcer displayed rain-splattered images and map overlays, failing to catch any discernible rotation in the scudding cloud cover. He explained that this one was cloaked, surrounded by a wall of water, and could not be visually verified, but the instruments clearly indicated some budding rotation within those clouds. The weather outside seemed placid until it didn't anymore. Whatever it was, a twister or an announcer shouting, seemed about a mile away from our location and moving away to the East. We'd just been talking about where the hidey hole was in the house a short time before the warning came through.

Nothing came of that warning.
The grey Saturday afternoon hum soon returned. The Muse and I had decided to wait out this storm front, figuring that had we bet on running ahead of it, it would eventually catch up to us. Better to follow the back side of it, we figured, so we idled time. By three, the sky seemed to be brightening and so we began repacking for our departure. Once on the road, the landscape seemed freshly laundered for our passage. Little traffic, a light sheen of moisture remaining on the road surface, we wended our way out of Oklahoma and up into Arkansas. Honeysuckle twisted along roadside fences. Spring wildflowers colored the verge grass. Not a breath of wind whispered our passage. After the storm, the landscape turns serene. What was an hour before screaming seemed to be on the edge of slumber.

The Muse spoke of the tranquility of the apre-storm world when she was growing up on the farm. How rainbows often appeared and everything turned still after the shrill swirling storm front slid past. One of her favorite times, she insisted. We seemed suspended in tranquility. The Schooner seemed to slide us up into Cherokee country with every sense muted for the passage. The road produced no noise. We cut through the usually humid atmosphere without producing a decibel of friction. We could have been riding in a maglev car over a rubber terrain.

The tail end of the system will catch up to us later, as we're swooping down from Fayetteville toward Fort Smith, fat raindrops echoing off our speeding isolation chamber. The drive day will end after barely three hours on the road, the game called for darkness and rain. We will find a perfect little cafe for supper, where they know how to properly shuck oysters, fry green tomatoes, and produce a perfect gumbo roux. The background songlist produced the perfect vibe, the supper superfine. My ears have felt as though they are filled with cotton since that storm passed by. I've felt almost shell shocked. We saw no circulating cloud and experienced no punishing hail, but the speeding train sense of imminent destruction passed close enough to hush my nattering inner voice. The hotel we chose was housing victims of another tornado that afternoon. The Muse and I were fortunately not victims of anything, but grateful beneficiaries of a serene After storm drive.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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