Counting Coup

(Originally published February, 2003)

Lightning, jagged and spectacular, crashes from cloud to cloud. Magnificent and dazzling against the broiling black thunder heads, they leap like celestial panthers from fold to billow.

Though I know I should retreat, seeking shelter in the truck which is parked a couple hundred yards away on the seldom-used road, there are fish rising, undaunted by the conflagration overhead. A patch of willow off-center of the pond is motionless: This storm, while raging in the skies above me, has brought no wind as yet.

Because I have seen no bolts strike the ground or any of the taller structures nearby, I persist, just a little while longer. Fish are rising; there are ringlets and circles on the surface of the pond everywhere I look. The air is charged, I can feel the hair on my arms standing on end from the electrostatic energy.

Only a damn fool would do this, I thought to myself, then immediately replied, Well, it’s not the first time you’ve been called a fool and probably not the last. Takes one to know one, pal.

To the south, distant and unheard, traffic is a column of multi-colored, speeding ants racing to . . . → Read More: Counting Coup


Man, it’s hot. Who can really blame me for wanting to live on some cool, breezy mountain?

This has been a miserable summer. It started waaaaaay too soon and got worse from there. I mean, we expect August and often September to be suffocating, but this has been going on a long time.

I mean it’s sweltering. Miserable. I get home and it’s 97 in the shade after I change clothes and go outside for a stogie. I throw the dog his toy across the back yard, he runs to get it, all happy and boisterous, comes back to me, drops it on the shop floor and collapses, panting, looking at me as if to say, “Yeah, that was good, thanks, check with me tomorrow.”

That dome of heat sat over the Midwest for a long, long time, driving temperatures up across its width and breadth. My beloved Ozark Mountains were steaming in the 100-degree range and beyond. Yeesh. It wasn’t too bad for us back home, while the rains lasted, but lately there’s been no release in sight.

I swear, its 10 degrees hotter in front of the Banner than at home. The sun radiates heat off the . . . → Read More: Heatwave