Last night I felt like I lived in Kansas for a few hours. Either I had suddenly been transported there, or Kansas, maybe even just a slice of it, had been transported here. Or maybe I was in Oklahoma, Nebraska, or North Texas. Not sure, but I know in southern Maine we had a taste of what it might be like to live in Tornado Alley.
We don't get Tornadoes here often. The last one I remember was in 1990 or so when one touched down in my ex-partner's property. It tore up a few trees. Twisted them like pretzels and then deposited them many feet from where they used to grow. And then the funnel tore the garage door off his house. And it was a small tornado.
So I am driving home last night. In the distance I see darkening clouds. Some more thunder boomers I thought. I got home just as the first drops of rain began to fall. What passed over our house was not a tornado. But it was funneling. The rain went horizontal and circled the house for maybe a couple of minutes. Lightning flashed all around with no comfortable time between flash and boom. And then it was gone.
This scenario repeated itself several more times until the cells of angry clouds finally moved out to the Atlantic. In at least two towns nearby, tornadoes did touch down and did what tornadoes do. Tore stuff up.
I only bring this up because this unusual weather is now becoming usual. I have given up expecting the climatic rhythms I knew as a teen and young adult. The winters have changed. The summers are either hotter than we remember or it rains for two months. The last five years here has been anything but predictable.
Since settling in Maine, I have become used to severe cold, deep snow that stays put for 5 months, Blizzards that trap me in my house for days at a time, and ice storms that coat everything in 1/2 inch coatings of ice. That's normal. In the summer I am used to the occasional thunderstorm and lightning strike. I once felt the peripheral shock of one that hit a utility pole 50 feet from my house. I was standing on my garage floor barefoot and holding the door up so a soaked kitty could come in out of the rain. Both me and the kitty jumped about three feet in the air when it hit. I will always remember how lucky I was.
But last night, it was damn scary. Seeing the leaves on the trees all swirling in the same direction and the flashes of lightning all around and so close. Mother Nature is not happy. I really am beginning to believe that.
And before anyone thinks this is a post with political aspirations. It is not. I don't care how, who, or why it is happening. But the weather patterns have shifted. Maybe for the long haul. Maybe not. To ignore that the climate is different than it was 20 years ago is about as bad a case of denial as I can think of. Warming or cooling, the weather in Maine has changed. I will just have to get used to it.
Image from "Portland Press Herald" - I assume it is from the damage in Gorham