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Posts tagged ‘Storm’

Hollow Tree

A violent wind storm felled trees all over our area recently. It didn’t affect me directly; working indoors protected me from the raging winds and sideways rain. The worst I expected to happen was that the power would go out. Like it had been doing frequently. BGE couldn’t keep up with the crazy weather and lightning strikes.

Fallen tree beside the road. © JustHavingFun

Fallen tree beside the road. © JustHavingFun

Indeed, the power did fail. I was in the public library using a computer. The thrum of the air conditioning ceased abruptly with the lights and computers blanking out. Although emergency lighting blinked on within moments, the lack of air movement sounds and the yellowish tone of the spotlights lent an eerie quality to the space. Outside through the windows, it looked like night. I had been so focused on my work that I felt displaced in time!

I left the library only to stand by the entrance watching the rain cascade down from a black sky. Several other people huddled there; a few souls braved the downpour and ran toward their cars, with or without umbrellas. The rain let up a scant 10 minutes later and I walked gingerly to my car, avoiding puddles.

A surreal pall lay over the neighborhood as I drove through it after the storm. The gray sky loomed darkly above and held a threat of continued rain. Drivers behaved insanely with no traffic lights. Cars crowded the lanes and bunched together. No one could enter the main road from side streets. Branches and leaves littered the streets. Police car lights flashed where trees fell and blocked entire streets!

This tree alongside Western Run shattered from the assault of high winds. Spiky parts jut upwards from the remaining trunk. Its length lay in pieces beside it and in the road. I drove past this tree many times before the storm, never suspecting it was hollow. It took a great storm to reveal its inner secrets.

Isn’t life a bit like that, too?

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Jury Duty Duty

Juror 4067

Juror 4067

I prayed for more snow and school closures. Dismayed there were only 2 inches of snow at 11 p.m., I reluctantly set my alarm for 6-ish a.m., knowing I’d snooze it after tuning in to WBAL radio to learn if the City Courts would be closed. My first Jury Duty in Maryland loomed ahead in the morning—a morning after Baltimore suffered an attack of snow.

Handicapped Ramp looking north, uphill, to St. Paul Street

Handicapped Ramp looking north, uphill, to St. Paul Street

Baltimore does not react well to snow. Whether it’s due to being full of Southerners who become panicky at the first flake of the white stuff, or the fact that people are used to driving recklessly (i.e. ”normally”) and get frustrated because icy conditions force them to think twice about passing a right-turning vehicle on the right for a change, driving here after a storm can be fraught with danger and obstacles. Although I thought I’d built in enough travel time to arrive at the Courthouse—after finding the parking garage—by the 8 a.m. call time, I did not factor in how impossibly choked the beautifully plowed I-83 would be at that hour.

Woe, how naïve l am. I’m glad I had a thermos of strong coffee in the car.

“Accessible Entrance on Fayette Street” sign

Jury Duty was still ahead of me and I was worn out from the trip! Less than 10 miles from town, it took me the better part of an hour to get to the parking garage. Waze failed finding an alternate route; actually my phone is on its last leg (phone fail imminent!) and kept shutting down mid-calculation. Fortunately I’d looked at the original directions before leaving home so I wasn’t entirely lost. That is, I wasn’t lost until I started heading toward the Courthouse. I pulled up a map, and intrepidly started the trek … only to find myself four blocks northwest of my destination and panicky because it was 8:35. LATE! will I be fined? Jailed? Told to come back another day?

And then the phone battery died. Again. Time for a new phone, for sure.

Drizzle dappled my non-compliant phone screen. Happily a woman told me which way to walk as her son had been on jury duty last week.

Limping due to a sciatica flare up, I found the building and the Fayette Street entrance with a ramp (which the Jury Summons instructed to use; the building’s address is on Calvert Street). The clerk told me to go out, walk up the block and around the corner, to the St. Paul Street entrance.

St. Paul Street Courthouse Entrance

St. Paul Street Courthouse Entrance

A statue of Cecilius Calvert, Baron Baltimore, etc. (see link for entire title), graces the St. Paul Street entranceway. So does a familiar blue Handicapped Entrance sign—at the bottom of a dozen-or-so steps—directing one to the first entrance I’d tried! I pulled myself up the first flight using the cold, wet handrail. My coat’s belt set off the metal detector, but luckily the sandwiches in my bag passed. I muddled anyway to the jury assembly room at 8:50. I had arrived!

The Jury Summons had assigned me Reporting Number 4067. Happily, by the time I entered, 4000 through 4100 had been invited to line up, check in, and get paid. $15 will cover the parking and the $1.50 diet Pepsi I bought from the machine in the Jury Assembly “Quiet Room.” With a bad case of “dead phone-itis,” I whipped out my extra-long phone card and charger I’d thoughtfully packed, found a plug, and settled down. Hmmm, no wi-fi. Sigh. Now that my “duty” had been done, I was ready for Jury Duty.

Or was I, I wondered?

R.I.P. Faithful Companion

Storm & Lightning

Storm & Lightning, 2008.  R.I.P, Faithful companions.

 

People become very attached to their pets. Pets become “part of the family.” I’ve heard them described as being “just like a baby,” “the only one who really understands me,” and “the love of my life.” I’ve had dogs. I’ve had cats. I’ve owned fish, turtles, hermit crabs, and took care of the 3rd grade’s reptile for the summer. I’ve given numerous fish a funeral at sea. I’ve also taken a dog to be euthanized, or “put to sleep” as we say. For me the pets were beloved friends, but they were just pets. My sister, Michele, and my brother-in-law were more of the first sort of pet owners, head over heels about the dogs.

Storm was put to sleep today.

Storm and Lightning were “brothers,” German Shepherds from the same sire and dam, with Storm being two years the older. Storm’s ears cocked inward; thus he was not suitable for breeding. Lightning developed seizures as he aged and also could not be bred. They were big dogs, Storm the larger of the two, and they barked a lot if they didn’t know you. Great watchdogs. However, they were well-trained and responded to commands. Once they stopped barking I never feared them for they were affectionate and attentive. But they barked until I got out of my car and they were commanded to stop barking. Big noise.

Storm sensed the atmosphere and emotions when it came to my sister. When Michele’s remission from cancer ended, it was Storm who sensed something was off. His behavior prodded my brother-in-law to take Michele to the hospital. This 100 pound furry fellow kept her company, even climbing into the bed, when she was recovering from chemotherapy. He was stalwart. He was the leader of the pack. Meanwhile, Lightning needed more attention, and his health failed progressively until the only option was to put him down. Storm missed him terribly, looking repeatedly around the house for Lightning.

Then Michele died a few weeks afterward. The worst day of all……

Storm and my brother-in-law were buddies after that. Sure, there were the cats, but cats are aloof and didn’t comfort him like Storm did. Then last year Storm started to fail. The only decision was to put him down. Today was the designated day.

Here’s a nod to a good dog and good friend. He’s buried in the back acre near his brother Lightning. Goodbye noble friend.

 

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