We took a small drive, down a dirt road, to view the incoming weather.
We took a small drive, down a dirt road, to view the incoming weather.
The National Weather Service
is calling for Thunderstorms.
Some may be severe.
I’m greedily holding my coffee cup
and reading each line.
‘Some of the storms today and into
early this evening may be severe.’
Damaging winds even.
I’ll continuously check their reports
hoping to see the language updated to
‘Possible large hail…and even..
that a tornado cannot be ruled out.’
I want the tornado.
I witnessed an EF-0 in Sunderland, MA.
It had just picked up a tobacco barn
and tossed it onto Route 47.
I call the tornado, ‘It’ because when I looked out
my window I saw something that was alive.
It, was furious. I could almost hear its voice.
I’ve been addicted to severe weather since our meeting.
Note: I do not wish for any person to be injured in any storm, tornado, severe weather etc. The EF-0 tornado (roughly 2009) I witnessed was the beginning of a string of storms that ripped through Western, MA. Including the EF-3 that touched down in Springfield, MA in 2011, and traveled for 36 miles. Unfortunately this storm was lethal. I am literally addicted to severe weather and have educated myself with a tremendous appetite. If you are interested in understanding these damaging storms, and how to stay safe, I recommend starting with an interactive radar. You can find these via most news outlets under the ‘weather’ section. Study the radar during active storms. Learn where a tornado may form on your own and don’t depend on alerts.
Cheers everyone. Observe and stay safe.
An Alive Blizzard, A short story
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction. Copyright 2017
It was snowing. The snow had started earlier than they said it would. I had asked my father about the storm and why it was different from other storms. Dad had said to mom that it might be a Blizzard. I didn’t know what Blizzard meant but I felt it. I felt it deep in my chest when Dad said it.
I saw from our window sill that already the snow covered the roads and sidewalks. Tree branches were beginning to become white. The birds were chirping loudly. I watched as they seemingly bounced from branch to branch. I wondered if they knew about the Blizzard.
Dad had told me it was going to be a Nor’ Easter. He said it was a true one. Not like the clippers that rush off the coastline quickly. He said a true Nor’ Easter doesn’t rush. It sits. It spins. He said it was even alive.
I looked out the window at the darkening woods. The sun wasn’t yet down, but the woods didn’t care. They were preparing to become pitch black. I didn’t want to be in the woods. Normally I’d be the first out the door and rushing to find an evergreen to climb under. Their branches were always soft and the bottom row would be connected to the ground. Snow would pin each branch and you could carve a hole through the snow and hide inside the bottom of the tree. If you did this without anyone seeing you, you could hide there all night and you wouldn’t be found. But not tonight. Not with the Blizzard being alive and the woods being alive and me right in the middle of both.
‘What are you doing, Nick?’ his father asked.
‘And what are you thinking?’
‘I’m thinking about snow forts under the evergreens.’
He wanted to ask his father about the Blizzard being alive. How he would know when it was alive, and what might happen.
‘What do you mean the storm will stop and spin?’ he asked his father.
‘A real Nor’Easter will crawl up the coast. It’ll aim at all of us in New England. Pressure from the north, Canada, will blow toward the system crawling up the coast. The real ones will stop and spin when the pressure from the north hits it. Instead of rushing out to sea, the storm system will press slightly north west. The pressure from the North sits it down, right over us, and it’ll spin like a Hurricane. The longer it sits and spins, the more snow we’ll get. And sometimes the two hit so hard it’s as if their fighting and the wind will drive and the snow will drift and before you know it you can’t see more than a few feet and it’s not safe to be outside. Because you’re in a real Nor’ Easter. A Blizzard.’
I set my eyes on the tallest of pine trees that I could see from the window. The top of the tree was moving, but only barely. The winds were not yet fighting. Maybe there would be no Blizzard tonight. But if it was alive, when does it decide to turn itself into a Blizzard?
‘Is this storm a Blizzard?’
‘It’s too early to tell. We can watch it on the radar and if we see it turn inland a bit, we can watch out the window, or go outside and listen to the wind. We’ll be able to hear it churning and getting stronger.’
My heart dropped. I did not want to go outside and listen for anything to churn. Many inches were already on the ground. And yes, now I see some wind pushing the top of the pine tree.
‘How can a storm be anything but a storm? It can’t be alive.’
My father rested his hands behind his head. He smirked, took a pull from his beer and said, ‘But it can. Did you know tornadoes suck dirt and grime and bacteria into its funnel cloud? And you know bacteria is alive. Bacteria clings to mud and dirt and particles so small we can’t see them. Think about it. Snow is developed high in the sky. First as droplets of moisture. But, it’s not yet snow. It’s to light to fall. It needs something heavier to help it drop. Something like dust. Dust just floating around hoping to hitch a ride back down to earth. The moisture clings to the dust and they both start to fall, together. Eventually turning into a snow flake. You tell me that dust doesn’t have bacteria and you tell me that a storm isn’t alive.’ His father took another small pull and smiled wide. ‘Don’t break yourself over this. It is just a storm. But every storm has a personality. You just watch.’
I held my questions. I needed to catch my thoughts and sit them down. I still didn’t understand what a Blizzard was, but now I knew what a Nor’ Easter is and thoughts of bashing winds, like that of a Hurricane, flicked through my mind. I had heard that a tornado sounded much like a train when approaching. Was that the voice of the tornado? If it was, what would the voice of a Nor’ Easter turned Blizzard sound like? Would it scream? Could it speak? What if I did go out into the woods tonight and let the Blizzard overtake me. Should I? I felt the wrinkles in my forehead pressing together. My face was a twisted and confused face. I didn’t even know if it would be a Blizzard, though somehow I felt it couldn’t be anything else.
An hour later everything changed. The wind was howling. Snow flew sideways and whipped by the window so quickly it was dizzying. My father had to go check on the roof of our garage and hadn’t come back yet. The woods were pitch black and no longer needed to prepare; rather I’m sure now the woods were completely alive and begging me to visit. Over a foot of snow had fallen and the storm was still new. I did everything to not listen for a voice in the howls, but it was too late. I told myself to not put my boots on. As I looked at my feet I saw my boots were laced. I asked myself to not put my coat, hat, or gloves on. I turned the door-nob with a gloved hand.
It was cold. Very cold and the wind was so thick and crisp it rushed into my lungs without permission. Wind pressed me so hard I was doubled over while walking. I didn’t need to see where I was going. I knew the wood line even in the darkest of nights. Instead of asking why, I simply kept going. It was too late to ask and to early to reflect. I knew only one thing. The storm was alive and I wanted to know it well.
Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more of my writing, please consider my short story found via the link below.
Fiction: The Thought of Summer
Written by -M. Taggart
The Thought of Summer
The barn was dank. Inside the bull’s stall was worse. It was dark and he’d left the lamp at the house. He couldn’t always see what he was digging his shovel into, but it didn’t matter it was all the same.
His friends were in the ravine. He imagined Nick fishing in the large pool near the road and Pete walking barefoot further downstream. Pete wouldn’t be fishing, he’d most likely look for bait and return what he scavenged to Nick. Nick would catch a few trout and gut them there on the road. Then he’d wrap the trout in tin foil and put them in his pocket and head for home, or he’d put them under a rock in the brook to stay cool.
The bull’s waste smelled ripe. He didn’t mind the smell. He didn’t mind working the stall. He’d do this for his grandfather every time it needed to be done. He only thought of the ravine because it was the first day of school break. He remember telling his grandfather he’d clear the stall, but he wasn’t sure why he’d selected the first day of break. He knew Nick and Pete would be waiting for him. He’d forgotten to tell them he wouldn’t be there. It wasn’t a problem, other than that he’d forgotten to tell them and that didn’t feel right to him. He should have told them.
He dug his shovel deep into the manure and let it stand on his own. He walked out of the dark stall and into the open area where hay was stacked before being lifting into the loft. The sunlight, coming from the open barn door, looked as clean as anything he’d seen. It cut through the shadows of the barn and brought with it a smell of fresh air. Outside, he squinted his eyes hard. He could hear the chickadees talking back and forth and crows cawing just as they took flight from a large oak.
He noticed the wind playing with the leaves on the oak. The leaves were flipped over forcefully. Then all leaves on every tree were flipped and pushed in the same direction. The wind picked up dust from the corn field and come toward him. He looked from the leaves, to the corn field, back to the trees. Just behind the row of oak, maple, and pines was the entry to the ravine.
The first clap of thunder was so loud he ducked and then squatted covering his head. The sky became black and purple. He wasn’t sure when it had happened, but it had and now it was. A strap of lightening struck the oak the crows had flown from. A large branch crashed its way down into the ravine. He crawled to the barn. Rain was mixed with hail and had beaten him in the few short feet he made his way through the field on his stomach back to the barn. He was drenched and covered in mud. He felt his body running into the barn but his mind wanted to know about Nick and Pet. He thought he had seen tops of trees flying through the air. He’d never seen anything like that and he wasn’t sure.
And now he hunkered in the same stall he’d been working in. He’d made a small indent in the manure which was not level with the rest of the floor and he felt safest there, with his face in bull waste. He felt the need to pull the manure over him like a blanket. His ears popped. He could feel the barn moaning. It creaked loudly and he heard what sounded like a portion of the barn roof ripping away. He covered his neck and breathed the moist air and tried to pin himself as deep as possible into his small sanctuary.
What of Nick and Pete, he thought. The storm raged and they were in the ravine. He’d seen the lightening hit the oak. And seen pieces of trees in the air. If he had told them he’d be working in the stall they wouldn’t have gone to the ravine to wait for him today. They always meet on the first day and now this. He promised himself to never forget how he felt. To always remember. But, would they have still gone? Maybe, he thought. None of that matters though, he told himself. Because now he’s stuck to the thought of it and that can’t go away, not matter what. He created this, the thought of it, the remembering and now he’s here in the stall waiting.
For my self published shorty story please click the link below.