I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes.... but there was Joy in the Morning.

I took a long walk yesterday afternoon up into the hills. This is what it looked like at about 4:00 p.m.
The wind was blowing through the trees, moving the clouds across the sky. Everything was so lovely.... as if Nature was at peace with the world. I even stopped up there, closed my eyes and just stood there for a few minutes, feeling the warmth of the sun, listening to the sound of the wind, the birds, the distant traffic noises from across the canyon and the strange little squeaking sound that kept coming from one of the oak trees... a bird possibly.
Then I heard a clicking kind of buzzing ... looked down I saw a grasshopper land on the grass in front of me. It was black and medium sized. I tried to lean quietly over and take a picture. This is what I photographed.
Because it flew so close I didn't have to move and I was able to catch it with the camera. It could be a House Lubber Grasshopper. The description says that it is shiny black, about 11/2 to 2", with yellow veins on its wings. I didn't see it fly in, so I'm not sure about the yellow color.
I had my eyes closed.
I was communing .
But it did fly in and I heard its characteristic sound. It says, as I read my field guide, that this "music making" serves as a form of warning, a way to establish territory, or a move in courtship. I like to think he spotted me and decided to be friendly on this beautiful day. After all I was standing still and this little guy flew to me. Their Habitat are grasslands and woods with Live Oaks. That's us.... lots of grass and oaks. It's hard to say exactly what kind of grasshopper it was because in North America alone there are over 1000 species.
I took four photos before it flew away to something more interesting and I continued on down the trail toward the house.
The wind was picking up and the sun disappeared. When I passed the goats they seemed restless and were heading for the goat house.
I went in and fixed dinner. The Prospector said something about the weather on TV. There was a "cell" moving over Amador county. They were spot on. We had finished dinner and watched Jeopardy. I let the dogs outside and they ran around peeing on everything and chasing each other.  The sky got darker and more ominous and then we heard rumbles from across the river canyon. The sun was trying hard to leave a last impression on us.
The clouds to the east didn't look that bad but the sun was losing the battle.
To the south the sky got a strange look that seems more frequent in the last few years. Clouds that carry the sunset  with them but lay like high fog over the foothills. They have a different look to them.
Standing out there, looking to the west behind the house, there was a darkness moving over the hills that said..." Time to take the dogs into the house and stop standing out here like a fool taking pictures.".
I called the boys in and taking one last photo from the porch...
... we retreated.
We watch this storm hit. First the wind, then the thunder and lightening, and then the hail. Huge pieces of hail that fell, plummeling my flower garden, battering the roof and scaring the dog boys under our bed. Cutter would bark at the thunder every time it hit. I just stood there watching my Iris, hoping for a miracle.
The storm knocked out the TV and the computer. We ended up reading for about an hour until the storm blew itself out and move east where it became snow for all the worn out folks up country and into the Sierras. It was a slow moving storm that planted itself at about the 3000 ft. level for quite a while. We watched it leave and saw the ragged bottoms of the clouds that has just gone over us. We had been told that "ragged bottoms" are the strange rough underside of a very large cloud that produces Tornadoes. It definitely looked like what a blogging friend in the Midwest calls a "bad cloud". We don't get Tornadoes up here but we have had a few in the Valley recently.
I watched that cloud for a long time. I think I kind of understand what it must feel like to know that something  horrible would come down out of the clouds and do great damage to a town or community. Tornadoes are monsters, dark and sinister wind, exposing life to fearful disaster and pain. I can't imagine what it must be like to see one come out of a dark cloud. I'm sure that it's one of nature's most frightening events.
This cloud moved on... and by evening it was dark and quiet.
I heard rain late in the night. As I lay there, save and protected. I felt thankful for this sanctuary that I call home and the protection it effort us here in the California foothills. I said a thank you prayer before I fell back to sleep.
I won't always be so safe. Something wicked eventually comes, but we live each day with hope that there will be Joy in the Morning.

This post was for Karen Deborah and all of those that suffer from chronic pain and depression. We all suffer "storms" in our life. For some it's more difficult than others. This is a kind of a prayer for those who weather each day with fortitude and grace.

(My Iris survived the hailstorm. They are a bit ragged but they are fine. )


  1. That was a beautiful post and I know just how much KD will understand and appreciate it. You have such a wonderful, gentle way with words Farmlady and I for one am glad our blog paths have crossed. take care dear one..;j

  2. Like JoJo says you do have a wonderful way with words. I enjoyed my visit here tonight very much.
    Just came by to wish you a Happy Easter.

  3. Another beautiful post. All the photos are great. I am glad your flowers survived the hail storm. We are been having a lot of severe weather here in Alabama many tornadoes have done a lot of damage to many towns. Thankfully we have been spared (only rain, wind and hail here). Have a blessed day. I love your new header. Madeline

  4. How did I almost miss this? your brought tears to my eyes. You did see the "bad" clouds. I was thinking while watching the series of pictures that it looked like one of our storms not typical of California at all.
    WE had quarter sized hail too, and inch and a half of rain fell in one hour yesterday. The garden is half planted can't get the dirt right in between rains. I was so surprised to see my name and the sweet sentiments that you wrote. You do have a lovely way with words and pictures and I thank you sweet friend.

  5. It seems that the bad times only magnify what could be and what it feels like to be safe and sound. I too always feel grateful when storms pass, be they great or small. What a beautifully written post...lovely skies as well (i love all manners of clouds!), although I wouldn't want to see a 'bad cloud' coming up my drive!

  6. Great post Mrs. C., I will consider it for me as well...I am sick again from asthma and have had some depression hit too...not as bad as my mom who suffered so many years, but I see your photos and I can breathe so much better...ahhhh

    Oh btw, I wrote a story for my new book and the star is named Carlton Pembroke! heh I will send it your way and see what you think! I used a few other elements from you blog too :)

  7. I was glad to get to the end and hear you and your iris survived the storm. The sky looked so threatening.
    I'm also fascinated by the black grasshopper, I've never seen a black one, didn't know they existed!


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