The Weather Hits Home

Sidewalk cafe on Beacon Hill. No place in a storm, umbrellas or no.
Sidewalk cafe on Beacon Hill. Not a good place in a storm, umbrellas or no.

It had to happen. Got word from Oklahoma the other day that lightning struck the Dear Old Homeplace on Monday; it didn’t burn down but much of the wiring and some of the electronics have been fried extra-crispy. We’ll know the full extent when we get back there in two or so weeks, when our New England sojourn comes to an end. I couldn’t be sorrier to leave this place, but it’s been a good run and it’s time to go home. I’m just glad we have a home to go home to.

Big bronze fountain in Boston Common, with cherubs, gods, goddesses and pigeons.
Fountain in Boston Common, with cherubs, gods, goddesses, sun-worshipers and pigeons.

Our housesitter has been steadfast and stoic through a great deal of tough stuff this spring and summer. Being in a house struck by lightning and not going gibbering mad with fright (as I would have) earns her the medal of honor in my book.

Sunday morning at the Swan Boat pond, Boston Common. Right before a storm.
Sunday morning at the Swan Boat pond, Boston Common, right before another monster lightning-fest.

It’s been unusually stormy here this spring in Massachusetts. I was out walking today around Harvard Pond (in the Harvard Forest) and saw what must have been a recent hit in a stand of tall white pines. One tree had been broken in half like a pencil and the top flung across the trail, and the one next to it had been gouged out vertically all the way to the ground. There were “splinters” of 20 feet in length and sharp as swords lying all about the trunk. I was scared just looking at them.

Harvard Pond, today, and sunny for a change.
Harvard Pond, painted today, and sunny it was for a change.

One time in Costa Rica I sat casually on the steps of a field station near San Vito, and as folks chatted and waited for the dinner bell a great lightning bolt exploded into the water tower right behind the building not fifty feet in front of me. I beheld the vision of the tower changing into what looked like a blueish-white tree with writhing branches. Sparks and jagged packets of light blasted in our direction, caroming off the metal gutters of the station and zipping in between people, who were frozen in attitudes of convivial conversation (time slowed down dramatically). Was anyone hit? Yes. One older gentleman became confused when he pulled his handkerchief from his back pocket to find it riddled with lacy holes all the way through. He thought an elaborate prank had been pulled on him until later when he undressed for bed. He discovered long tracings of burn marks down the back of one leg, having been hit directly in the butt. He confessed he’d been hit before. Some folks are, apparently, lightning rods. They come in handy in storms, no doubt.

Town Hall, Petersham, Election Day on Main Street.
Town Hall, Petersham, Election Day on Main Street. Sun comes out, crowd cheers, birds sing, people vote.

As I said, our New England sojourn is winding down. It’s gone by in a flash. We got here in the snow, and now the first maples are turning red, due, I’m told, to the unusually cool, wet weather here this summer. It’s been a weird one. Sorry I’ve neglected to write more often. I’ll just post some pictures for tonight. Stay safe and dry, y’all.

9 thoughts on “The Weather Hits Home

  1. Pingback: Via Negativa
  2. Carol says:

    I love these little moleskine watercolors – very homely (in the good sense!) Can I ask what size moleskine this is, the 5.5 x 8.5 or the smaller one? I’m trying to get a sense of scale ….

  3. Mike says:

    I’m using the 5.5×8.8 size sketchbook. It’s not the watercolor sketchbook, just the regular one and has a nice cream colored heavy duty paper, without much tooth. Works pretty well with paint and everything else but don’t try to scrub it. I’m using the waterbrush with the mint tin watercolor kit. Everything fits in the purse-don’t leave home without it!

  4. Mike says:

    Ooops- that last comment was really from me, Motmot (aka zeladoniac aka debby). I’m in a Cambridge hotel room using Mike’s computer….

  5. 100swallows says:

    I’m glad you didn’t leave home without your sketchbook and watercolor kit, Debby–the paintings are all wonderful and give a good feel of those places besides. It takes you to draw the pigeons on that fountain (was there no bullying that morning, one of them spinning around to intimidate another and drive him off?)! I liked the description of the lightning strike and the poor bewildered, old guy. Now I just went back to have another look at the Harvard Pond.

  6. gretchen says:

    I cannot believe your New England stay is coming to an end- I for one will miss your always inspiring take on my own environment- it has been so much fun to see my world through your eyes! Even your Boston sketches are of places and things I love dearly- I too once spent an afternoon sketching that very same fountain (Brewer’s Fountain)- it’s one of my favorite things to draw on the Common! And while I might miss the subject matter of your postings when you return home, I will still be reading your blog faithfully! It’s a big world out there and I love to learn about new things, esp. through the work and words of such a gifted artist ( that would be YOU!). Thank you for literally painting our little corner of New England in such a beautiful light! Safe travels back to Oklahoma, hope your home is alright and I look forward to each and every new posting here on “the motmot”!

  7. zeladoniac says:

    Thank YOU, Gretchen! I can’t tell you what a joy it’s been living here in your neck of the woods. It’s been a great experience, and I’m happy you’ve been following along, too. Keep sketching!
    p.s. thanks for giving the name of that great fountain. It was hard to decide what to draw there, the fountain or the very very interesting people surrounding it that morning!

  8. TR says:

    The Motomot has been banned here in China until today. Apparently WordPress just got approval. I have not been able to get here for five weeks and so glad to finally see what you’ve been up to. I am so sorry to hear about the lightning!!! Are you ready to get home? Still up for a little Red Slough? Can’t wait to see you. And get the E.O stories in person! xxoo

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