Autumn Skies

Pounding rain, so heavy that the usual places flooded and then some. Storms all night, lightning spears flashing down, followed by thunder to wake the quick and the dead. Shields of rain-thickened clouds streaming up from Mexicos New and Old, coloring the radar yellow with green fringe that swirl and churn, fading to dark green before returning with red speckles. Below the colors, unseen by radar, people wade through low spots and drive carefully, for once taking heed of the signs that read “If sign under water, do not enter underpass.” And slowly, after one last outburst of temper that floods main streets and sends work crews in a smaller town scrambling to deepen ditches and open part-blocked culverts in the dark, the storm passes to the east, turning Oklahoma and Kansas radar green. Continue reading


Edges of the Storm

The sun rose in a clear blue sky, washed by the previous few days of rain ans scoured clear by a cold-front. But as the hours passed, the sun faded to milky pale as bands of high clouds swept over head. A light north breeze tickled the leaves, and a few early leaves fluttered down in a lazy way, while a large brown sweet-gum leaf skittered half-heartedly up the sidewalk. Continue reading

We Few, We Happy Few . . .

Today is the feast of Saint Crispin and Crispinian, patrons of cobblers, shoe-makers, and leather craftsmen, martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. it is probably better known among English-speakers for a battle that took place on this feast, and Shakespeare’s version of it. Other notable fights on this day came during Crimea (“Honor the charge they made,”) and Leyte Gulf. But it is the older battle most of us think of. Continue reading

Music and Memories

Last week I attended the Amarillo Symphony concert. It was a semi-pops concert, with ballroom dancers performing to some of the songs.

I liked most of the music. The Latin-rhythm arrangement of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” did nothing for me, and having dancers shimmying to that piece left me both cold and angry. it felt sacrilegious to do that to that particular piece of music. I’m not certain if it is because I’ve performed that work on organ and so I have a certain possessive sense about it, or just that I get twitchy when people use religious and quasi-religions music for secular things. The Riverdance show Lord of the Dance made me very uncomfortable, because of the musical theme that was used as the background for a pagan story. On the other hand, I have no problem with Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, which uses the same tune. Go figure. Continue reading


Another snippet in search of a story . . .


The Clerk of the Court looked up from its computer display. “You are . . ?”

The female humanoid presented her identification. “Commander Rada Ni Drako, the neutral observer,” she stated. The insect compared the bio-data on the card with the soldier standing in front of its seat. Everything matched and the clerk checked off the last of the personnel list.

“Very good, Commander Ni Drako. If you will have a seat,” and it gestured with an appendage, “the judge will be calling the observers into his chambers in a few kee.” Continue reading

Fog Walls

Late October seems to be a foggy time. Part of it stems from Halloween, the old fog that was always pouring down in horror and scary films. Part of it comes from cold air spilling south onto warm ground and warm waters. I’ve actually watched knee-high fog come into existence in the park where I walk. The park is on the slope of an old playa, and you can feel the temperature difference some mornings as you walk into the cool air pool. If conditions are just right, my walking around will trigger fog formation, a very shallow mist layer. I’ve seen similar near the school, or did before real water filled the lake. You wouldn’t think that the High Plains would have much in the way of dramatic fogs, not like the Golden Gate or London, but you’d be mistaken. Continue reading

Button Moths

It’s that time of year again, time to rotate the summer stuff to the back of the closet and bring the woolies, fuzzies, and “what-dress-with-snowboots” to the front, replace missing or loose buttons, and put the white dress shoes away rather than just moving them around. Every year I rediscover a few salient facts. 1) Winter stuff takes up more room than summer stuff for the same number of items (sweaters vs. tank tops, for example). 2) I’m actually more colorful in winter than in summer, i.e. tan and chambrey are replaced by teal, purple, bright green and other colors. 3) No matter how many mothballs I put in the box, button moths and seam nibblers find ways to get in. Continue reading

Acquainted with the Night

All rumor to the contrary, I am not nocturnal. The High Plains’s high-elevation sun and I just don’t play well together. That and when I was a teenager, walking at night gave me both exercise and a reason to get out and think dark proto-Goth thoughts while looking at the stars and being strange. After all, Musical Starstreams only came on once a week. As things worked out, I ended up in a number of pursuits where familiarity with being out at night has a certain advantage to it. And so I still go out in the dark. Continue reading

Bring back that Buddleia!

The point of planting butterfly bush is to attract, well, butterflies. Apparently this has been a good year for butterflies (gee, they need water. Who would have guessed?) both local and imported. In this case, the first of the monarch migration appeared Monday, October 12. A massive cold front swept down the front of the Rockies on Thursday-Friday, chasing the butterflies south. As a result, the entire week before it seemed like we had a monarch invasion.

Continue reading