Tag Archives: nature

31 Days of Spoooktacular: In the Path of the Storm

Storms do not scare me. They haven’t scared me in some twenty years. The thunder is so much noise and the lightning is avoidable. Hail is a problem, but only rarely and only when you’re outside. And, in the end, there’s not a lot you can do about it except button down and stay low.

When I was little, around 7 or 8, I was caught outside during a tornado. I don’t know if the tornado came anywhere near me, it could have been a mile away, because I was hiding up under an overpass, being the most scared I had been or ever would be. The only thing I clearly remember is the noise, just the deafening, all-over, unrelenting¬†noise. It was big noise. Noise that didn’t sound like anything because there was too much to process. It was like being caught in the center of a tiger’s roar and I couldn’t think; there was just raw, undiluted panic.

And then the wind died down and the noise stopped and everything was fine again.

I’ve never been in a storm like that since. Nothing has topped it. That noise. I think if I ever heard that noise again, I would drop to the floor and curl into a ball and hope it would all go away.

But right now, Sandy is being quiet. She’s shaking the house, bringing down some tree branches, but she has no roar.

Bring it on.


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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Harvest Season


Sometimes, it’s important to take a break from Halloween in the middle of the season and remember that Fall is great for other reasons as well.

When I was a kid, we used to head up to my grandparent’s house in Virginia in the Fall to pick the apples in their small orchard. My dad would climb into the trees and shake them as hard as he could and the apples would rain down. We’d gather them up and sort them out, the bruised and abused apples being set aside for cider.

The cider making was really the best part. The cider ¬†press and grinder was a cantankerous wooden and iron contraption that would tear through the apples, grinding them into pulp, the pulp falling into a cloth lined bucket, which was then pressed. Swarms of yellow jackets and wasps would gather and I would always watch anxiously, hoping that they wouldn’t become part of the cider. Which, inevitably, they always did.

After we moved from North Carolina to New York, we stopped going down every year for apple pickin’. It has been years, maybe a full decade, since I last did any kind of apple picking.

Today, Emily, a couple friends and I all headed out West, going a little further out into Massachusetts, where there was fairly large scale U Pick apple orchard. I had been to a few of these operations, but this was probably one of the larger that I had been too. There were goats and pigs and hayrides and plastic jugs of cider and trees going red, yellow, gold and the apples. So many apples.

As a kid, it was one of the ways I defined Fall: you went out into the country and collected apples by the bagful and you got out into the air that was just starting to get chilly and you really saw Fall for the first time, in all its colors.

It was nice to be able to do that again and to usher Fall in again that way.

TOMORROW: Blood and Horror at Rock and Shock


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Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More