Billings got a tornado yesterday. Lots of damage. We got a honkin’ nasty storm here. I was outside pushing rocks around and pulling weeds. It was warm, partly overcast is all. Now and then I looked up because it seemed to be getting darker and it was only midday.  The sky in the south was deep gray and I wondered where it was going to go. Always hard to tell because the sky is so big here in Montana, with several seasons going on up there in any given day, as I interpret it. Then there was the crack of thunder closeby, so I went inside, but dashed back out when I saw the windows open on my car. I leaped like a gazelle, really big drops of cold rain mixed with hail chased me.  It happened fast. The temp dropped from 60 to 38 in minutes and then it started: bang womp flash!  The wind loaded with hail just tore through the trees, and rain-filled mist blocked out the mountains all around.  It sounded like a machine gun on my little skylight — the hail was the size of marbles, then came the deluge.  Our African Grey, Coo,  said, “ooh, rainshine!” and I smiled and said, “Ya think?”

We sat on a stool at the big kitchen window, the bird on my shoulder, and watched the show. I wanted to take a picture, but didn’t want to miss anything, or get off the stool — we were having a nice time — and I didn’t want to go outside to take a photo. The other parrot was hunched on a perch in the living room with his back to the window, just a little afraid. I told Coo how lucky she is to be living inside a house this life, and she tapped 5 times on the window with her  powerful, black beak as though to say, “ya think?” (I wonder how much she really understands)

But my recently planted special little garden experiment became a wading pool with a layer of hail packed around the edges. I peeked out the back window and worried. I wondered about other gardens in the neighborhood.  Gee, is it drowned now, after all that back-straining work on my knees, planting those amazing little seeds (all different) and pulling rocks out by the millions? (ok, dozens of the millions.) I think they divide and multiply. This isn’t called the Rockies for nothing. I wonder what the fate of my garden is. (I called Linda U. and she said chill, it’s ok). There was a solo little spinach plant from last year out there and it was torn to pieces from the hail, yet still rooted.  I am reminded of Jane James, my college painting teacher, who painted beautiful big skyscapes, and what she said to us students:

“We must deal with the harsh elements that come, like the new bamboo chute must withstand the rain, snow, wind and sun, in fact it’s very growth is strengthened and stimulated by them. And so it is with us.”   It was the most important bit of learning I recieved in school.
 
Just now the Amazon parrot, Cyrano, flinched at the shadow of a big bird that flew by close outside, and he said loudly, “jabberdamit-bla-bla!!” in an impersonation of my voice when raised, or arguing with him or Ron.   He in fact, told off the shadow which he thought was a predator.  It was probably just a big crow, but it’s dark shadow was an illusion of bigness, and I sit in amazement at the funny magnificence of all this.

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