06 May 2009

Springtime in Alabama...

I like to think that Spring is my favorite season in the South. The wild flowers and clover take over the land, and the temperatures are a mild 80 degrees. I like to think that this is the time of year to host garden cookouts and sit outside in the Adirondack chairs until the last bit of sunlight each day disappears later and later each day. But, see, here's the truth of it--I somehow forget, until Spring in the South is upon me again, that the entire season is a matter of dodging tornados and praying that your home and your loved ones are not destroyed by "the big one."

When I was a child, the excitement of hearing the sirens revving up, grabbing the candles and my favorite stuffed animal and running down to the dirt cellar of our 1916 Victorian house was thrilling! I'd curl up in my father's arms, my old-fashion cotton nightgown smudged with dirt and the sickly sweet smell of mildew in my nostrils. (I think my secret love of the faint scent of mildew reminds me of my childhood Springtime moments in that cellar.) I can't remember how my parents reacted to it. I can't remember if they were scared. I like to imagine they were cool and confident about the matter, not worrying about falling tree limbs and roofs being ripped from houses, and the insurance claims to be filed. I like to imagine that they were caught up with me and my sister in our primitive game in that dirt cellar with candles and old-fashion night gowns. In those times in the cellar, we only mattered to each other.

If you're truly from the South, your childhood memories are riddled with tales of that "big twister of year-such-n-such." I'm sitting here now, in this wild digital era (is that term outdated yet?), blogging to you while I watch the warnings and the skies gradually turn black. I'm watching the weather reports and the damage reports of my surrounding cities. It's heading this way. My home has no cellar and I'm not wearing any old-fashion nightgown. I'm hoping my husband gets home from work before it hits, and that my father's building in Cullman wasn't part of the damage I'm hearing about in the reports. They're telling me it's gonna hit Birmingham in nine minutes. I'm not as fatalistic as I was a few years ago, but I don't like NOT having a place to go hide. Give me a mildewy cellar in this Alabama Springtime.

I guess that's it for now. I've got to get my dogs on their leashes and go duck my head in my 2 square foot "hallway."

Springtime is here.