Yesterday, March 28: the first day of Spring on Goose Creek.
The measure: not day length or temperature; not the blooming of Coltsfoot (come far too early this year) or pinking of the buds at the tips of trees along Nameless Creek when the sun rises earlier and earlier each day. The first day of Spring is marked by our first meal on the front porch.
This year, it was Ann–the irresistible force: Let’s eat outside! And I– the immovable object: it’s too cool yet, and everything is likely wet from the hard rains we’ve had (though they seemed to have passed by, the air cooler, the sky clearing a bit to the north though thunder still rumbled.)
It was pretty cool for sitting, but the meal of chicken casserole (the chicken we canned ourselves last fall) held in bowls in our laps warmed us even while the winds followed the storm south, down beyond the end of the pasture, out over the Blue Ridge, surging like a wave, spilling down into the piedmont and beyond. Behind the wave, a neon strobe of pink flashed in the near-dark, thunder coming later with each flash. There: the smell of lightning.
And listen: how very Appalachian the thunder. Remember: in South Dakota, the storm that passed over us, crashing it’s way toward the badlands? The thunder, for being so very close and loud, was flat, monotone, two dimensional–a sheet of sound dropped down hard against prairie that lay open to the horizon in every direction.
CLAP! And we held to our warm bowls, listening. Mountain Thunder in stereo, hi-fi, reverb and not mere percussion. Antiphonal thunder kettle drums answered by two or more pairs of tympanis back on Lick Ridge, set at fifths; and tonal heavy hammers, against steel out beyond Free State. Sound sent, sent back, modulated, amplified, and moving away. The pink-orange spilled down the great escarpment toward Carolina as Goose Creek rose clear and cold, to its own water music, and appreciative and silent, we took our empty bowls inside.