Monday, October 03, 2016

Four Conversations and an Explosion

We had our first real rain of the season, and according to our little rain gauge it was almost an inch. That's significant rain for our neck of the woods in early October. We were so happy about it, Roger turned off the irrigation drip timer to our little garden. That rain will take care of things for several days.

The best part of the rainy season besides all that wonderful rain water is the stunning array of clouds that are ever-changing across the sky. They move in from the west and change the light and shadows in every direction. And then the sun comes out for an hour and everyone who has been waiting, goes for a nice long walk.

So, when the skies were blue and clear to the west, we headed out for our neighborhood 2.5 mile walk. We got to the very first corner and ran into our wonderful neighbors who were walking home. We had a nice five minute chat about the weather,  Roger's finger (which is really starting to heal), and my mother's ring which needs a little repair. Then we waved goodbye and kept on walking. That was the first conversation.
Roger and the mirage in August 2016
We walked down the road heading north. There are cow pastures on the west side of the road and the very edge of small town suburbia on the east. It's the road we take when we want to photograph Roger in a mirage because we can see long and far. Here we walked past the church and the charter school, and then turned the corner heading east. That's when we heard it. BOOM! An explosion. We both turned and looked back toward the church and caught the sight of a flash of light and a crazy puff of orange smoke that looked to be coming off a high-tension wire transformer. We had read about another explosion in town just the other day that had been caused by a mylar balloon. We were rather shocked by the sound and sight of this and kept on walking. We were glad that we had run into our neighbors because if we hadn't we would have been much closer to the wires that had sparked wildly and loudly.

We turned the corner and headed south. That's when a jogger came running by. She was heading in the same direction as we were. She took off her ear-buds and said, "Did you guys hear that explosion?" We told we had. Then of course we talked about how weird it was to hear such a thing. And she saw the orange puff of smoke as well. It was good to confer with someone and have a reality check like this. She put her ear-buds back in and waved good bye.

We kept on walking and stopped to say hello as we always do to the little pigs that are in a fenced off part of a larger cow pasture. That's when we met a man walking his beautiful old black lab. He told us that he had come upon these pigs just the other evening and that they were all sleeping in a row lined up by size from the smallest to the largest. There must be thirty pigs in that pen, and he said it was the cutest thing to see. He also told us that the pigs have gotten used to people coming by who feed them, and it makes them a bit ornery with each other to get closer to the humans. Then we asked him if he heard the explosion. He said he had, and then he shared that his house was without power for 24 hours because of the transformer explosion that had occurred on Friday. We agreed that it seemed very strange for there to be two explosions like this. Then, we bid him good day, and moved on.
Pileus Velum
We were now back in the small town suburban part of town. It was quiet there. It was likely that no one had heard that explosion that was a mile away. (We didn't hear the explosion Friday that was a bit more than a mile from our house.) An older man was walking to his car parked in his driveway and noticed us walking by. I noticed his mother watching him from the window, as he talked to us. He said with an accent that we could not identify, "My mother she loves the rain. She loves the rain we had today. She loves what it does for the garden." We agreed. Nothing is quite like rain for keeping a garden healthy and green. We've walked past their garden many times. They grow lots and lots of fava beans. The man said, "I like the sun, like right now, this sun how beautiful this all is." He spread his arms out and looked at the sky. We agreed, we told him we like the sun too. It's why we were out for a this walk. Then he looked at us so warmly and said, "Namaste." I smiled and put my hands together. We walked on.

When we got home we saw that the house had lost power briefly. All the clocks were blinking blinking blinking with the wrong time. It was a very brief outage and a very interesting outing.


  1. I love piggies but it makes me sad seeing them being taken away. What a nice walk, did you find out what caused the explosion? Oddly enough we had one saturday evening which scared the life out of one of the dogs who started barking.Never found out what it was.

  2. To me, that sounds like the perfect walk. As for those transformers, when they blow, they are loud. We have one right outside our house, and once in awhile something on it blows. One time it caught on fire. Never a dull moment.

  3. We are located in an area that is relatively lightly developed and full of trees. We lose electric power on a regular basis (including transformer explosions on occasion). As a result, we installed house and office backup generators. Guess what? We have not had a serious power outage in two years (for which I am extremely grateful, since the generators only power the "essentials" like the furnace, the well pump, the refrigerator and a few lights). I attribute the "new" reliability to the power company, which caught hell for all the sustained outages that occurred during Hurricane Sandy and the incredible ice storm that besieged us two winters ago when trees came down on the lines all over the place. Our power company has been very pro-active about trimming since then.

  4. Bill-- I feel bad for these little piggies too. I know their fate, and it is a heartbreak. They are quite adorable. Never did find out what caused the outage, but we suspect it might have been an unfortunate bird.

    Sharon-- We heard the crackling and popping first, turned around to look at the pole and boom, and sparkling little explosion. It was really pretty interesting to see. My mom always says, "never a dull moment." It's so true!

    Scott-- We bought a generator years ago when we were living in the Sierra foothills. We didn't need it often, but when we did we LOVED having it. We left it with the house when we sold it, but I often wish we still had it just for that sense of security.

  5. Odd that you have had two transformers blow in such a short time. I think it was cool that you had such nice conversations on your walk.
    And yes, plants adore natures's rain and only tolerate that from a hose.

  6. That is something I hope never to witness! The transformer blowing, that is. The conversations sound wonderful. Only in California would someone say, "Namaste" and be confident the person he spoke to would understand it. If I did that in my neighborhood, they'd say, "Huh?" or they'd think I'm speaking in tongues.

  7. By the way, is the pileus velum the kind of bridal veil thingie coming off the cloud?

  8. Maybe when we retire, we'll start a daily constitutional (this is what my father in law called his walks) and get to see wondrous things and meet interesting people like you do.

  9. Arkansas Patti-- It was a bit odd. Never sure what's going to happen, and always a surprise when something does. We loved the conversations and the rain.

    CCorax-- We first heard the sound of loud static. That's what made us stop and turn around. We caught the little flash of an explosion like lightning at the top of the pole. Then, puffs of orange smoke lifted into the air. Really not sure what caused this, but it could easily have been a very unlucky bird. There was an older couple we would see quite often when we were out walking this past year. They were from Nepal. We learned this when we walked across the street to meet them after waving to each other for months. The man spoke, but only in Nepalese. We tried to communicate, but couldn't except with broad smiles and hands held together. Namaste, we would all say to each other, Namaste. He and his wife were here visiting with their daughter and grandkids. They have since gone back to Nepal. We miss their presence. I'm sure there are many names for pileus velum clouds. I love how they arc over these tall Cumulus or Cumulusnimbus clouds. Gorgeous.

    Sabine-- Retirement is the very best for discovering all the things that you love to do and that truly make you happy. I hardly ever picked up a camera until I retired and now it's all I want to do, that and take long walks.

  10. I was going to say the same thing you said to Sabine. It is so nice to be able to slow things down. To notice things that we don't notice before, because we were too busy working! It sounds like you really did settle into a great area. Where people actually talk to each other...

    1. Pat-- There is something very civilized about Arcata. People talk, wave, and smile... all the time.