“I’m scared.” I whispered.

“Here, take my hand,” Rocket-man whispers back.

I try to reach for his hand but a ball of black fur is in the way.  The poodle is nestled in between us, and he is shaking.  His shaking is not as bad as usual, I think to myself.  Maybe he is getting used to these violent bursts of mother nature?

My heart races as I hear the wind gusts.  It sounds like the house is going to be ripped apart!  (Later I’d learn that wind gusts of up to 70- mph were reported in parts of Madison County.)  Middle earth is turning me into a frightened ninny!  I think to myself.  I don’t remember feeling so vulnerable and afraid as I have since moving here.  Snakes, insects….intense thunder and lightning storms, tornado alerts….floods…..
And, it’s not even March yet.

Maybe those years in Southern California turned me into a softie.  Life was pretty tranquil for the most part except for a few rolls and jolts of the earth during our eight years of living there.  Weather events were a rarity at the beach…though just a bit inland was often problematic as even just a few minutes of rain could cause mudslides, taking entire houses down the sides of mountains and smaller hills.

I’m no longer in Southern California, two miles from the ocean and palm trees on every corner. It’s crystal clear and cuts like a knife.  The power flickers off and on for a moment or too.  I start to complain again about the weather.  Rocket-man reminds me that I was ready to leave our ocean paradise (OK…how is this helping now?). Yes…but that was because the cost of living was ridiculously expensive and with all the job cuts you had to be proactive! ” I say with an edge to my voice.   I get it…I am really not trying to be a pain in the tush but snakes and insects aside,  I didn’t bank on living in such a volatile weather place…5 inches of snow one week and tornado conditions the next.  And what is this summer going to be like?  Two weeks straight again of 105 degree temps and high humidity.  Whoa…calm down missy….I’m getting ahead of myself again.

Outside the storm rages.  Rain pelts the windows hard enough to make it sound like the glass is just one more drop away from shattering into a million pieces.  I have visions of trees slamming into the roof or through the windows in the family room.  Thunderous booms and flashes of day-light bright lightning has sent, in missile-like fashion, the poodle from his own bed on the floor, into our bed.  It’s a king-sized bed; we’ve plenty of room to accommodate the poodle and we often do for a few minutes each night, while we read, before its lights out for us all.  Naturally, Rocket-man and I would rather cuddle with each other without a dog in the way (even one as beloved as our poodle)…all 34 pounds of him, spread out, from head to paws, as far as he possibly can spread, taking up quite a bit of real-estate on the bed.  Still on this night while a terrific storm rages outside I’m grateful for my poodle’s warmth and softness.  He is curled up into a tight ball in the crook of my arm and though my heart is racing there is some comfort in knowing that I am helping to ease his fears as much as he is (unknowingly) easing mine.

And the most interesting part of all?

Through the storm’s violent wind, pelting rain, and thunder and lightning, tree branches breaking from their trees and twigs flying all about….all very frightening to poodle and me….

you could hear….

FROGS.

Those damned frogs are back!  Wasn’t it cold enough this winter to send them packing to Mexico…or farther yet, Hawaii?  And how is it that they can thrive in a wee puddle of water?   The memory of the one that landed on my head last summer is still all too fresh in my mind.  Yes frogs.  Seemingly out of nowhere….they are back, and in the dark of the night, in stereophonic sound, they were a loudly croaking chorus through all the calamity occurring around them, croaking on and on into the wee hours of the morning.  Then, they took a short break (for what, I have no idea) before starting up again (yes… they are “singing” as I write).

Incredible.