Friday, 11 February 2011

Flying in thunderstorms

February in England, and in the overworked insult to injury department, it's raining. No thunder, no lightning, no terrifyingly beautiful thunderheads, just drizzle. Blerg above, blerg below, a generous helping of blerg on the side. 

 But on the bright side, the lovely Polish Mama on the Prairie has given Mañana Mama the Versatile Blogger Award - high praise indeed for an old stuck-in-a-rut type like me - thank you Polish Mama. As per the terms of the honour, here follow three mostly true trivialities about me (more versatile bloggers than I go for seven, but I'll stick to three to save on reader eye-strain).  

Firstly, I am a bookish* Lutheran from a Catholic town, which means that I am contractually obliged to regard Garrison Keillor as the patron saint of English majors everywhere.

Secondly, Cassiopeia is my favourite constellation in all of the big, black night sky. Sometimes I step outside, close my eyes, and picture Cassiopeia etched on the backs of my eyelids. Before you call me a wierdo, remember I live in Britain, where 'looking at the stars' is an old Scots phrase that means 'use your flipping imagination'. 

And lastly, a rambling childhood ghost** resurrected in my mind by the pitter-patter of little raindrops outside.
I grew up down a bumpy dirt road that crossed an arroyo by way of a dirt bridge*** with a tin culvert in the middle. One summer thunderclouds rolled over the llano in June and didn't leave until September. And one afternoon in that monsoon summer it rained - as per my favourite agricultural phrase -  like a cow pissing on a flat rock. A torrent of angry muddy water filled the arroyo and then - with a terrifying boom - blew the culvert clear out of the bridge like a cannon shot. When the flood subsided we found the culvert farther down the arroyo, washed up like a sad, beached corrugated whale in a sand bank. And there is stayed for years. 

There were huge, lush, neon-green weeds everywhere that summer, covered in velvety black caterpillars - a bit of a fluke in the high desert. In June a flotilla of construction vehicles descended on the neighbourhood to widen the narrow highway that connected our culvert-less dirt road to town. The builders paved the new stretch of road parallel to the old one, working hard all morning to drop tools by late afternoon. In the quiet evenings, my dad and I would sneak into the site armed with a pink bike and a set of training wheels, and he taught me how to ride.

The tarmac was so smooth, smoother than the proverbial baby's backside, and while I peddled like mad down the newborn road, wind in my face, the smell of the warmed summer earth and car exhaust in my nose, I used to shut my eyes and pretend I was flying.

On a good day, that's what it feels like to sit down to plonk out some nonsense on a keyboard. 

Learning to fly, ain't got wings. 
    Anyway, in the spirit of versatility, and for any reader left awake, here's a handful of the wonderful stuff I like to read, when not otherwise occupied with imaginary stargazing and a Prairie Home Companion.
    To all the above: it is always such a pleasure to read your work - thank you for sharing it. Please feel free to pass on the versatility bug (or not) as, if and when you see fit.

    In the meantime, rain, rain go away.

    *A devastating condition for which there is no known cure.
    **Really quite rambling, so permission granted to commence TLDR now.
    ***You may have noticed a general 'dirt' theme at work in my life by now. 


    1. Congratulations on your award. Hope the weather gets better for you soon.

    2. Congratulations on the award and thank you for passing it on! I think it's my first bloggie award :)

      And the drizzle does suck. Luckily for me I only have to put up with it for 2 more days and then I'm off to Australia for a while :)

    3. Thanks Tat, me too!

      Thansk LJB and you're welcome - I love reading your blog! Have a fabulous time in the sun (lucky, lucky).

    4. Loved reading about your bike riding experience. Btw, I don't find it strange about the stars. I once stayed up almost all night to watch a Lunar Eclipse from start to finish. This was when I already had kids so I was exhausted but it was something I felt I wanted to do once in my life.

      Stay dry! We have snow here, I'd trade for rain every day at this point, lol.

    5. Congratulations ~Mama on your award! I so enjoyed your post - the moment of flight was beautifully evocative. It's wonderful that you feel that at the keyboard too.

      And thank you for passing the award on to us. We're really honoured!



    6. Thanks Polish Mama! Glad to hear you're a stargazer too - I think staying up all night for a lunar eclipse is TOTALLY worth it.

      Thank you C&T, and my pleasure - I love to read your blog - although doing so usually makes me hungry!

    7. Thank you Manana Mama - It is always so nice to get a blog award. I will try and get onto it soon...

      Thanks again and I hope you are having a fantastic weekend.

    8. Thanks and you're welcome AFW! It's just a way of saying that it's such fun to read your blog - but no pressure to pass it on unless you want to!

    9. Thank you for tagging me, and for being so kind about my blog. I'm really pleased that you like it, because I think you're a genius! :D

    10. Love this:
      "The tarmac was so smooth, smoother than the proverbial baby's backside, and while I peddled like mad down the newborn road..."

      I still talk to my dad about the newborn road biking; he is especially moved by the time capsule memory of dads and little girls.

    11. Thanks IP - love to read your blog - and I don't get called a genius very often - how truly exciting, I'm going to quote you on that the next time someone's owning me in an argument (happens quite frequently).

      OAG - You and I both were blessed with lovely papas. We have so many wonderful memories from that old dusty road to nowhere, que no? What a special place to learn to ride - maybe that's what planted the first biker chick seeds?