“In Minnesota it’s not May 3rd today; it’s the 54th of February.”
I was pretty winter-weary when I posted that on Facebook two years ago. The winter of 2013 was rough.
But what a difference two years make! Today was glorious — sunny and 81 (27C) degrees — so I spent a few hours gardening. It felt wonderful, even if I was disappointed that by 5 p.m. I still hadn’t planted my new perennials.
It was getting cloudy and in the distance I could hear thunder. “Perfect timing!” I thought, as I hoed one of the raised beds in the back yard. “I’ll get everything in the ground and then it’ll get a good soaking.”
Not 30 seconds later, though, I heard the first “plink.” Plink. Plink. Plinkyplink! PLINK PLINK! Little pellets of hail were pelting me and bouncing onto the lawn. “Better get inside!” I heard Esteban yell from the back porch.
An instant later the hail tripled in size and the wind started blowing sideways, from the north. As I dashed for the back porch, one of our neighbor’s storm windows got ripped off the house, flew past me, and shattered on our lawn.
It wasn’t any quieter inside, though. The sound of the hail on the windows was unlike anything Esteban and I have experienced in our 25 years in this house. Here, listen for yourself:
The first 30 seconds were the hail against the glass-block window in our bathroom, then the standard window in our bedroom, and finally the hail on our roof. It hailed like that for almost 10 minutes.
When it finally did quiet down, Estebam and I ventured out to assess the damage. The car was fine — if a bit dirty.
But the bleeding hearts and hostas I’d just relocated were another matter.
The weather map showed that the most violent part of the storm had passed over us. And I finally understood what the meteorologists meant when they said, “it’s a dangerous storm, capable of producing quarter-size hail.”
But — other than a few mangled plants, and some spectacularly dirty windows — we were lucky to survive unscathed.
Only a few minutes later the birds were singing again, and our (rather bedraggled) woodpecker friend was back on the hunt for fresh bugs.
Finally, a rainbow appeared as the storm rumbled off.
I remembered my childhood Sunday School lessons: “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.“
God may have promised never to flood the earth again … but he never said anything about hail.