Monday, November 16, 2009

Red Dog at Night

Just as sailors read the sky so too do the farmers. I grew up hearing Dad say, "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning." Dad was great with his quotes. We girls still repeat them remembering Dad. A tinged sky takes me back standing with Dad looking to the west at the beautiful red sunset.

High wind warnings are in effect for our area. Last night I could hear their approach. This morning trees sway gracefully dancing together. I can't hear the wind. I try. I just can't hear it.

Our wonderful farmhouse had old windows and a metal roof. We were comforted when the rain hit roof, lulled to sleep by the music it made. Old windows rattled when the wind blew and even a few of them whistled. Some storms frightened us as they pounded the house beating on it like a drum, shaking it like a rag doll. Yet the house had stood for over a hundred years. It wasn't going any place.

Now I strain to hear the rain, the wind, the storms. Modern windows and walls, thick insulation, insulate me away from the sounds of nature. As I watch the wind whipping the branches of the trees I long to hear their music.

New homes on Neff Road take the place of old. The sound of the wind is lost in silence inside those walls. The comfort of the rain upon the roof is lost to another generation.

Folklore tells us that a ring around the moon signifies bad weather is coming. I don't know that Dad knew that ice crystals covering the halo signifies high altitude, thin cirrus clouds that usually precede a warm front by a day or two. A warm front that can signify a storm. I found out that it is believed that the number of stars within a moon halo indicate the number days before bad weather will arrive. A halo around the moon influenced the farmer in our house. A halo that fascinated his little girl and in the future would warn her of coming storms.

Sometimes I open the door and listen. Listen to the past and the present. "Red dog at night." Am I hearing a voice from my childhood or are we still sharing precious moments, Dad?

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