Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

I shouldn’t listen to Kevin. Last week, the weather forecasters predicted only a slight chance of thunderstorms, so when we were leading the horses down the driveway, Kevin was sure those big black clouds would pass to the north of us.

I suggested just riding up and down the hill, so if it started storming we would be close to home. Unfortunately, I let Kevin convince me to cross the river. I should have known better. I did say that when we got to a particular spot on the trail—only about 10 minutes away, we would reevaluate the weather and turn back if it looked bad.

We were trotting along and were nearly to that spot when the wind started blowing really, really hard. I decided right there that we should turn back immediately. It was too late. Seconds later, it began to pour. I shouted to Kevin that it felt like déjà vu, and that I was having flashbacks. I was remembering the time that Ellen and I got caught in a sudden storm with a lot of wind and a huge tree right next to us crashed to the ground—fortunately away from the trail and not right on top of us.

The words were barely out of my mouth when I heard a loud crack. I turned Cruiser towards the sound. If a tree was falling, I wanted him to be facing it. I saw a large branch break. I didn’t see it hit the ground because Cruise was startled by the sound and began trotting. He was easy to stop since he was heading towards the noise and away from home. Kevin did likewise. Once the horses were back in control, we turned around and headed home.

We didn’t have to ride far, but we got soaked. At least it wasn’t a cold day. We got back to the barn, scraped the excess water from the horses, finished our chores and headed to his house to watch a movie. Friday night is movie night for us.

As I have often said, the risk of a tree falling during a storm is less likely than a day or two later. The wind and rain weakens the tree, but it may not fall right away.

Sunday, I took Cruiser out on my own. It was very cool and sunny—perfect riding weather. We simply had an awesome ride with a lot of trotting and a little cantering. He didn’t sweat a drop. On the way back, I met Ellen, who was hiking out to meet us. We walked back towards home. About 15 minutes later, we noticed a Ranger’s car in the street by the trail—it was there to stop the traffic—a tree had fallen right across the road. It was close enough to the trail that even the best of horses would spook if they saw or heard it fall. Ellen didn’t see it when she walked by, so it must happened recently.

I felt like I was the luckiest person in the world.

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