The thing had a presence that could be felt as well as seen and heard.

The colors in its quickly moving body were vibrant and strange.

I had never seen anything like it before and I’m sure I’ll never forget it.

On the night of Sunday, Aug. 7, my wife and I were grilling some chicken when I noticed the sky on the western horizon turning gray. I think I said something like, “looks like we’re going to get a little more rain.”

Deciding we had plenty of time to finish cooking, we went back to what we were doing. A short time later, the grayness had turned much darker and was visible from north to south as far as the eye could see.

It was apparent we were in for a storm of fairly sizeable proportion.
With perfect timing, the meat was done and we got it indoors. I went out on the side of the house where the view of the western horizon is best.

I was stunned by what I saw, and said – out loud – “wow.”

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

There was a huge, defined bank of clouds quickly advancing in the direction of where I was standing, rolling and pulsing in a manner I had never before seen. I called my wife and daughter out and upon witnessing what was going on above they both said, “wow.”

This was no average “severe” storm.

As the system continued its incredibly fast development, it whirled, gurgled and even sort of growled as if it was some sort of angry airborne life form, all the while displaying a magnificent array of colors within its churning body.

Even though our chicken dinner was getting cold on the dining room table, we couldn’t help but keep staring at this thing as it eventually engulfed the entire sky. And then the wind whipped up.

In a matter of moments, leaves, twigs, and other stuff were flying around all over the place and the growling and gurgling was replaced by a loud whooshing and roaring. We got inside in a hurry.

Almost as soon as we did, my daughter exclaimed as she saw a giant portion of an ancient oak tree in our yard displace from its host and barely miss destroying a small outbuilding as it came down.

I tried to save a set of roll-up blinds on our side porch, but one was already shredded. And I didn’t belong outside, anyway, acting as if I could spar with this howling, raging, meteorological monster.

I came back in and found out the power had gone out while I was engaged in my futile battle.

Thunder and lightning cracked and boomed as stormy madness reigned all around our crooked farmhouse. We sat down and ate our meal in the soft fluorescent light of a battery-operated lantern.

No more than 25 minutes or so after it started, the mayhem ended in the same rapid manner it had begun.

We decided to venture out in the car to assess the situation on the long dirt road leading to our remote outpost. We didn’t reach the end of the 150-yard driveway before being blocked by a fallen tree.

Not wanting to wait and prolong the situation, we decided to fetch the chainsaw and clear the way. But try as I might, I couldn’t get the confounded machine to run. It would idle, but then die every time I gave it some gas.

Nice timing.

After pondering about asking a neighbor to bring by a functioning power saw, my wife figured it was best that we didn’t ask anyone to try to get to us since we didn’t know what condition the road was in or how dangerous things were out there.

Having an already weakened tree fall on a friend’s car as they tried to bring us a saw didn’t sound like a good idea. And we had already seen a big one topple.

My wife said, “lets use hand saws.”

I didn’t want to, but I also didn’t want to wait. So with some rain still falling and the darkness being pierced by a car’s headlights, two women and an aging man manually sawed up the problem and we had a clear path to the road.

Sweat was literally pouring off of my head as I sawed and moved big sections of the wooden foe. My shirt weighed about five pounds when we were done.

We drove the mile distance to the paved road, dodging a million limbs and sticks, and there was thankfully no big lumber to cause an even bigger hassle than the one we had just dealt with.

With electricity non-existent in our lives for the time being, we went back in the house without the ability to shower off the dripping sweat.

We ate some ice cream, figuring that was better than letting it melt in the powerless freezer. We turned on the radio hoping to hear some news from the local stations, but there was just music.

We finally turned in for the night and were awakened at about 5:30 a.m. by a bunch of lights coming on and the sound of air conditioning suddenly working.

Hallelujah – electricity.

All in all, it was not an experience I would care to repeat. My back definitely doesn’t want to.

But at the same time, I know full well that it could have been worse. Much worse.

The power could have stayed off for days.

We could have had no saws at all.

We could have had no ice cream.

One of the many huge limbs that rained down around our home could have penetrated the roof of one of our cars rather than falling harmlessly on the ground.

The big oak could have fallen the other way and blown a gaping hole in our biggest investment, causing us to – at very least – need a new kitchen.

Or the living-entity storm could have been an EF5 tornado and turned our crooked farmhouse into a pile of unrecognizable rubble.

The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we should be thankful in all things.

Amen to that.

Especially considering that things could always be worse.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. Past versions of his column can be seen on the blog page at http://www.houstonherald.com. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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