Too Close For Comfort

Fishing Pier, Cedar Lake
Fishing pier, Cedar Lake, Sandy Beach Campground, Ouachita National Forest, OK.

Oklahoma is land of extreme weather and early last evening I found myself in some. Golfball size hail was falling not far away. I saw pictures of it on the news as the local TV station repeatedly broke into the regularly scheduled programming to warn of the sever thunderstorm and hail activity in the area. I called up some radar imagery on my iPad and could see some orange and red patches nearby heading right for me. Soon the sky darkened and rain began to fall. Just a few drops at first, but they were big, fat raindrops that landed hard with a loud splat. You could tell it was just the beginning and that it was going to get worse. It did. They sky grew darker yet and the darkness was now punctuated by brilliant flashes of white as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared. If you’ve ever been in an RV during the rain you know that some of them seem to amplify the sound of raindrops on the roof. There was no place to go. No place to hide. Although surrounded by tall pines that could provide some protection from hail there was no way to get under them–they did not shelter any of the campsites here.

Fearing the worst I laid down on my bed and closed my eyes, listening intently to the sounds coming down through the roof of my RV. There was nothing else to be done. I was just waiting helplessly to see if I’d be crushed or spared. As I lay on my bed I listened intently for any change in sound from the thud-splat-thud that heavy raindrops make to the tink-tank-thunk you hear when the rain turns to hail.

When I next opened my eyes and listened for the hail all that I heard was the sound of silence. Two hours had passed, and along with them the storm. If the rain that had been pounding my roof ever turned to hail I may never know. None of the golfball size stuff ever fell on my rig–I can’t imagine sleeping through that; there was no damage to my RV and no hail on the ground. I think all we got was a good rain. Still, too close for comfort. I turned in for the evening.

This morning I awoke to a symphony of song: the songs of crickets, and many different kinds of birds, and frogs and who knows what other creatures may have been chiming in? These are wonderful sounds to me. I don’t know why, but I love being enveloped by them. Maybe because they make me feel that I’m not alone and have company. It was much the same as I went to sleep last night but absent the call of the birds that had retired before me. Still, the forest was alive with the sounds of nature.

That’s where I am now… again… in the forest. This time it’s the Oauchita National Forest in the far eastern part of the good state of Oklahoma. Don’t ask me how Oauchita is pronounced. I don’t know. I haven’t heard it spoken. My best guess is “oh-cheetuh” with the accent on the first syllable. Next stop in a day or two, Hot Springs National Park in western Arkansas. Until then…

This link will download a zip file of the recording <Cedar Lake 032515.mp4> to your hard drive (I’m not sure what will happen on a portable device.). It’s an mp4 audio file I recorded my first morning at Cedar Lake as a flock of crows were passing through. The sounds of the forest here are just wonderful. That file will need to be unzipped before it can be played. Double clicking on it might cause that to happen. If not you might need to get a utility to unzip files. Once unzipped a player than can play mp4 files is required. You might need to find one of those. Or, you may already have all that on your machine.)

This link goes to an uncompressed (unzipped) version of the same audio file. I do not know what will happen when you click on it.


11 thoughts on “Too Close For Comfort”

  1. Russ – like you we like being as far back in the woods as we can get. During one of our first trips in our camper, a huge storm kicked up in North Texas and because we had no internet or cell signal, we didn’t know how bad it would get. Now we have a hand held emergency radio that can locate us and gives us the NOAA report for our area.

    1. I think such a radio is a good idea. I’ve looked for something like that–for a radio that would know your location and play the appropriate warnings. I think I may have seen one or two like that but they required AC power or would consume too many batteries to make them practical. Which make and model radio do you own? Inquiring minds would like to know.

      1. Oh boy – it is over 10 years old and not made any more. It is a hand held model and if the weather is good, we take the batteries out to save power. Sometimes we’ve been able to get a radio signal and the announcer will give the storms position by town or county. We usually don’t know the area we are in so I like the auto locator feature. We are heading to OK tomorrow –after reading your post I’ll check the weather first.:) We want to go to the Bubble top car and hot rod museum in Afton on our way to MO.

    1. Thanks. The next night (last night) was something of a repeat performance only scarier. I was really worried for awhile. I located the nearest public shelter as I watched the storm approaching on radar and readied my rig to roll, but then I decided not to because I was afraid it would be to windy to drive there. So, again, I waited and crossed my fingers. We had some very heavy rain with lightning and thunder but it never got really windy. Phew… Again!

  2. Very glad you were spared also! Might be worth getting that radio-just saying : ). Even though these storms look and feel scary-looking at the photo from the fishing pier with the dark menacing clouds is quite beautiful. Yes, of course I’m saying that, looking at the photo from my safe, sunlit dining room, just appreciating the sheer powerful beauty of nature and weather and dark clouds all together speaking to me (fear and discomfort removed) about the beauty of it all. The rain, thunder,lightenings and rainbows are all part of the same phenomena The power and beauty of nature. Stay safe and dry and warm.

    1. The next night was even worse! There were tornados not too far away and huge hail. I was getting ready to head for the local pubic shelter when I realized the winds had gotten too strong to drive in. Fortunately no hail or tornados came to the campground, just really heavy rain punctuated by some lightning and thunder.

  3. That does sound too close for comfort for anyone! Ugh! Tornadoes-powerful winds! What a scary situation! A great relief that you and Charlene were spared. Glad you stayed safely in the campground. Good decision under pressure! Good luck navigating dangerous weather on this part of the trip! Find a hammock to tie under your awning and sip some sweet tea to savor the good days and nice weather when it comes. All the best!

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