Sand Storm

Dust storm, July 2005:

I looked up from what I was working on, having noticed that it seemed dimmer that it had been. Glancing out the window I saw the sky had gone sort of yellow. A sure sign a dust storm was approaching. I got up to have a better view and thus determine if it was to be a real tempet de sable or simply a strong wind stirring up the dust into the lower atmosphere. What I was was a massive swirling swarming turbulent bank of yellow brown all across the eastern horizon and curling round the north and south as well.

The steady and rapidly advancing wall seemed alive with billows of dust roiling and undulating , bulbous patches of darker reddish brown where it clustered thicker, And always nearer. Half the sky was covered and now gusts of wind whipped sand in my face sent sheets of it skating across the ground. Soon I was in the midst of it the air was yellow and gritty, unpleasant to breath. Even facing away from the wind eyes squinted, breathing through pinched nostrils and clamped teeth.

The light continued to dim, taking on more of a reddish hew; though to the west still a lighter yellow. it became almost impossible to make out the tents of the neighbours not more than 50 feet away. Trees were a hazy blur, In fact everything was hazy and blurred even the tent in our own yard had indistinct edges. the wind was blowing so hard whipping the sand up higher than the top of the tent. Inside the shear force of the wind made a noise almost like thunder hurling sand into the shutters, roaring across the roof and groaning through and colastrads, but the sky was getting lighter or at least the air was.

Drops of rain now mingled with the dust pulling it it down, but more the clouds were padding with a rapidity that attested to the force of the wind the bank of yellow was now mostly to he west and fleeing in front of silvery rain clouds. The drops came bigger faster and more densely spaced coming in at a steep slant from the east, so steep as to leave a large dry crescent in the lee of the tent. The wind continued to roar, the shutters pelted now with rain made an even more noise and thunder boomed overhead rain began to pour from the down-spouts and where it hit the side of banco buildings rivulets of mud chased each other down the walls. The rain went on with impressive force for some time and then with some last rumbles the thunder moved on to the west, the rain diminished to sputters and putters, the sky still overcasts looked a brilliant white by comparison the grace fences and thatch and matt huts were all drenched yet looked somehow cleaner and newer- refreshed. Even the green of the small leaves and thorns on the balanidies trees looked somehow more brilliant. Such is the renewing force of rain.

Yet on closer inspection puddles block doors and choke narrow ways turning to filthy mud and where too much traffic passes. The wind forced rain and dust through cracks in the shutters caking the sill with mud and sending dirty rivulets down the walls soaking the carpet below. Already failing structures collapse into lumpy mounds, Hopefully no one is injured. People return to their tasks or commence new ones cleaning up where need be; restoring order, taking the destruction in stride and rejoicing in this indication that starvation will again be avoided for man and beast alike.

Miranda Dodd
13 July 2005