Thursday, June 20, 2013

it was another crazy day in the atmosphere today, particularly over what they call the south plains, the caprock, not to be confused with the rolling plains, or maybe the south panhandle, the permian basin, or some of the other natural features around here, that i really don't quite understand. the wind was blowing, between 25 and 32, and kicking up enough dust that you'd get it in your teeth when you walked out to your car and i'm sure it's the kind of stuff people report blowing in their windows and getting dust all over everything. but the weather kept reporting threat of thunderstorm, threat of softball-sized hail, as if a cool front was just waiting to blast the warm moist gulf air being pulled up from the south. they talk about "south-southeast winds" and this could mean that the prevailing stuff is very warm, very moist, carrying all this water, and just waiting for it to be turned into softballs.

we went to the park, but the amusement place was closed, so we found prairie-dog town. this is a wide-open very flat place where prairie dogs loll around and people feed them crackers, rice, white bread, all kinds of stuff. they pretty much ignored most of it, preferring to loll around, maybe since it was the middle of the day. it was flat; the sun was wide and sharp, but there were dozens of them in view, they were having a lively time, talking to each other.

we drove over the city and looked out over the orangish haze and the cloudy sandstorm, but eventually we ended up at the science center, because we had to stay out of the house for the afternoon, and the prairie-dog town was only good for maybe fifteen minutes. at the science center there were some dinosaur bones, and a couple of little things to read that i really liked. one was about dinosaurs in texas and where to find their bones. another was about the brazos river; apparently we're in its watershed; finally, there were cool things for kids to do involving pendulums & sand, bubble-blowing, etc. a pack of kids was running from one floor to another and finally, to keep track of mine, i parked myself under a radio that was coming out with a steady weather report. it was like, that particular lobby was the best place to see all floors, both stairs that they were using to get from one to the other, and that was where there was a place to sit and a view of the place. but the weather report was constant; it was more or less on a loop. that's where i got the names above; i really got a few rounds of it, standing there. but i ended up no more sure what exactly was going to happen, if there was really a storm coming, if we'd really have another round of softballs dropping on what few windows we have left. in fact, a few rounds of this developing front/conditions right for a storm business, and i was sick of it, and ready to go. the problem is, conditions are right for a severe storm; there could be softball-sized hail, there could also be a tornado, and nobody really has a clue. and the orangish gritty fog continues, and life goes on pretty much as usual, people speeding around town in their white pickup trucks. i however have come home, settled in, and probably finished for the night. there's only so much i can take.

the large quantities of rain has made it so we don't have to water, and things are growing well; everything is green; even the weeds are happy. we've done some work on our outside walk, putting concrete tiles, greenish tinted, so that we won't have a wretched yard to take care of; actually, good grass only grows right up against concrete anyway, because that's the only place where there's dirt that doesn't cook past the frying point. if these little shoots of grass can get their roots under a sidewalk or something, they have a chance to survive, so, by giving them more concrete blocks and sand, we will actually provide more opportunity for grass to grow, in spite of covering up 80% of the dirt. that's the plan, anyway. what it means in effect is that my mornings are shot, and i'm a little sore from the shovel work, being as old as i am.

so i'm working a little on my novel, which has been dormant for years, but which really must be finished before i can start a new one, and i have some ideas waiting, so i'd really like to get past this one. it was ill-founded in some ways, about stuff i know very little about, and that's a chancy proposition, but i'm getting into it anyway, trying to learn on the fly stuff i should have done research about before i even started. i'm pretending to be an expert on st. louis sports, for example, but in reality i don't know mark mcgwire from kurt warner, and have to do research just to know them. ah well. that's why my next novel will be about, maybe, actualism. or bundle-wrapping. something i have a clue about.

then again, since it's a murder novel, what one really needs is a motive, true characters, people who are bad enough to kill each other, that kind of stuff. i may be over my head here. maybe it should be, back to haiku.

the baseball championship was postponed again, because of the weather. last night was another night of storms passing through, forming and reforming and cutting up into oklahoma. for entertainment we sometimes just turn the weather radar on to "animate" and watch what has happened in the last five minutes, big formations changing, forming, moving. try to guess what will happen next. any way you can see softballs in that kind of picture? i'm not sure, but if i find out, i'll let you know.


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