Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dogwood flowers here seem to float among the trees along the Natchez Trace, just before we arrived in Tennessee. It was lovely to spend time with Aunt Bobbi and Starla in their homes perched on a tree-covered ridge and down in a hollow, way out in the country, well past any town larger than a gathering of 5 or 10 houses. Yesterday I heard five different kinds of bird calls and woke to a sunny morning. No time for writing today. We sat around the round oak kitchen table and talked and talked.

By afternoon, it was a different story. We all gathered in one house to watch the Storm Tracker on television, with alerts listing the precise times the storm would pass each tiny community. The voiceover said, "Take cover. This is serious."

So we watched the maps shift and change, the storm highlighted in green and red and yellow, with the announcer pointing out the cup-shaped indentation that indicates a possible tornado. The storm seemed to move in a trajectory right for us. Starla said last year, a mobile home had been hit just three miles away. So at the proper time, with hailstones falling around her double-wide mobile home, we stood in a tiny hallway, making jokes and petting Rosie, a white Llasa Apso, and the devil-dog, a little mean chihuahua, two tiny dogs who stayed quiet and close.

Then the storm passed, and it was over. I made Happy Family stir fry for dinner, and all was well. This morning, we're back in the world in Knoxville and headed to Gaitlinburg. Snow's coming tonight.

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