Obscured by Clouds

On a hot and lazy weekend afternoon, a dip in Madeira’s community pool seemed like a winning idea to escape the heat, but to my surprise (and delight), no one else was there to take advantage of the water. Having the pool to myself was a blessing, if only the oncoming clouds that were assembling could keep their distance.

“You’re welcome to join me,” I offered Leah earlier. However, Leah had settled for the comforts of air conditioning and a Kindle moment.

“Y’know, it’s supposed to rain,” she forecasted.

“But it’s a swimming pool, and wet is wet,” I theorized with authority.

The expectation of rain is ever-present during Florida summers, and today was no exception. In the distance, despite the stillness of the air, the clear sky was yielding to a dark mass creeping in my direction and threatening to blanket the sun.

I floated on the water–as if in a trance–listening to the foreboding rumble, and watching the evolving cauliflower clouds occasionally glow with the flickering incandescence of faraway lightning.

In no time, the war clouds were upon me, but the sun would not surrender gently.

clouds and treetops

I cursed my misfortune for not having my camera with me as the billowing thunderhead gradually edged out the sun–it’s luminescence taking on an eerie beauty.

cloudy but colorful

However, my Samsung Galaxy was with me and it would have to suffice.

colors behind the clouds (2)

While it wasn’t my first choice for resolution, the camera phone adeptly managed to capture the nuance of color radiating beyond concealment…

obscured by clouds

until the sun was vanquished and the rainbow had retreated.

Once I managed to locate and retrieve the files uploaded to Google cloud storage, the captured skyscapes were no longer obscured by clouds.

Tightening My Bible Belt

If the idiom “raining cats and dogs” refers to heavy rain, then we drove through a storm front this morning on our way to Montgomery, AL that must qualify as “cougars and dingoes”.

So violent was the weather–bringing bouts of apocalyptic lightening and cataclysmic road floods–that I celebrated the opportunity to pull into a rest stop for 10 minutes just to catch my breath and clear my head. Texted news reports of tornadoes across Alabama border states kept us on high alert. Continuing south, the punishing winds played havoc with the Airstream, despite its aerodynamics. Keeping it centered between the lane lines had to be as challenging as today’s Supreme Court confirmation of Neil Gorsuch.

This is not the game plan we had prepared for yesterday. The Airstream was all hooked up and ready to roll from the night before. Our easy and early departure from Talladega was intended to give us a head start in advance of the storm, so that our arrival at Gunter Hill Park would coincide with the worst of the weather. But as my late Grandma Straws was so fond of saying in her heavy Slavic accent, “You kenen nit makhn a contract miten de veter.”¹

What a relief it was when the squall finally weakened as we exited the highway and turned onto Old Selma Rd. in search of our campground that I may have muttered a “Hallelujah”. If we were grateful to God for arriving without incident, there was no shortage of venues to Praise the Lord. It turns out that eight different churches lined the five-mile route–all of them captured below.Church2.jpgchurch3.jpgchurch4.jpgchurch5.jpgchurch6.jpgchurch7.jpgchurch8.jpgchurch1.jpgIf salvation is part of your endgame, it seems that Old Selma Rd. is one of the most God-fearing stretches of asphalt in all of Montgomery, and the place I know where you should go, to save lives lost at any cost.

Or at the very least, buy a bag of boiled peanuts and shelled pecans from the roadside vender who looks as old as Moses.

¹Translation: “You can’t make a contract with the weather.”