Cooled Off

_C1_9017Today started unusually steamy and reached about 90 degrees, but it took only about 20 minutes to change that in the afternoon, when temperatures fell 20 degrees, the wind picked up and the storm rolled in.

I should’ve seen it coming, really. The most humid days always seem to bring a storm — I remember one August day in Nebraska where it dropped from an oppressively humid 96 to about 62 in less than half an hour. You can bet you’re in for a good time when that happens.

This storm happened to hit right as I arrived at Tontitown’s Grape Festival, an annual carnival of food and rides named for the town’s vineyards, planted by the town’s Italian founders a century ago. I didn’t get to ride anything, but I did get to feel the excitement and energy as rides closed down and people ran for cover._C1_8975

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_C1_8994The carnival workers had the unenviable job of making sure the stands and prizes didn’t blow away, though this guy seemed to keep in good spirits.

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_C1_9043It was a fun 20 minutes! We’ll have to try this again sometime, Tontitown.

Thanks for looking,

Dan

Blue and Gold

_C1_3413I was resolved to stay near my apartments this evening, though I wanted to take another shot at capturing lightning. I was not disappointed.

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_C1_3175The storm wave moved through the area in time to let through the golden glow of the sunset. It combined with the storm’s deep blue, and the sky became a watercolor rainbow of yellow, salmon and purple. I sure do love nature’s light shows. And I didn’t even have to leave my porch.

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_C1_3245Thanks for looking!

Dan

Active Skies

IMG_0075sA thin, intense line of storms stretching from Texas to Illinois is on the way to northwest Arkansas, bringing our first real chance of severe weather. The thunder just started. It looks exciting out there! I hope it’s just the right amount of excitement, though.

IMG_0071sThe turmoil in the sky before storms always fascinates me. Two of my best examples are here and here — take a look, if you like. The turmoil typically comes before the flat, more menacing steel gray of the rain.

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Stay careful out there,

Dan

At World’s End

_C1_1566If you drive east on Fayetteville’s W. Martin Luther King Boulevard, past the university campus and Popeye’s Chicken, eventually you’ll get to School Avenue. Turning left will take you to the square, bar row and my office.

I almost always turn left. Yesterday I turned right.

_C1_1533There were plenty of people around, but nearly all of them were hidden away in the cars passing by. Parking lots were nearly empty in front of liquor and hardware stores and pawn shops. Even buildings I’m sure people live in seemed abandoned.

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As I continued southward, featureless, steel-blue clouds spread from the west and blocked the sun, and this feeling of abandoned-ness only intensified. At a wrecked gas station, a bright red rain gutter hung diagonally down to the asphalt, somehow wrenched from the eaves. Several cars, a Hostess truck and a small, hunter-orange excavator were strewn in one of half a dozen overgrown junkyards. A creek from under the road stunk with an oily smell, the kind that clogs up your nose with a whiff. 

Farther south the traffic fell. Every side road was labeled a dead end. One of these curved through a neighborhood where the first mailbox read “Wrong Turn!!!” These houses seemed empty, too. Some yards were filled with trash and equipment,  or a blanket of brown leaves. Satellite dishes with missing parts and twisted stems grew from another.

Woody vines curved around the rails of a wheelchair ramp that led nowhere. Across the street three stoves were lined up near an old shed near rusted hulk of a boat sat on a rickety wooden platform (apparently something of a pattern here).

If it hadn’t been for the occasional traffic to the west, like a distant waterfall, I might’ve expected a walker to emerge from the tangled pines any second.

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_C1_1636This was a new level of urban decay, but as with many things people ignore or forget, it was fascinating to me. The area might be Fayetteville’s answer to Emma Avenue.

About two was miles south of my starting point sits the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, where the bail bonds signs take over and I turned around. On the way back I saw a few more signs of life, and not just of humans. The plants around here seem to think spring has arrived or something. Rain started to fall as I got back to my car.

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_C1_1634I hope they’re right. Thanks for looking!

Dan