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.