Cast & Blast

Sheet lightning, frog-choker rain and keeping an eye out for hidden Lowcountry art

Since I usually write my column on Wednesdays or Thursdays, this time around Wednesday seemed like the right time to sit down and knock another rambling hodge-podge of words along with atrocious grammar.

Hopefully it is sunny outside as you read this because as much as we needed the rain after 20-something days without a drop, we sure as heck have put a dent in the drought in this last week.

Take last night for example. If you are anywhere around Hilton Head, Bluffton or Beaufort the storms that rolled through here last night were absolute frog chokers.

The first storm cell barely moved as it settled over my hacienda and the raindrops were the size of lima beans. The part that really amazed me about this deluge was the lack of any wind at all. The limas were falling straight down with hardly a space between each bean.

According to my rain gauge, I got nearly three inches in less than 30 minutes. That is dumping!

Then an hour or so later, the second storm cell approached. It too put a dent in the frog population, but it was the light show that dazzled me. Most folks hide under the beds during lightning storms like that, but for whatever reason, I can’t help but grab an umbrella and step outside to watch.

I guess most small children are comforted by their parents during severe thunder storms with some explanation as to what is making all that racket. Mine was “it’s just angels moving furniture.” If that is indeed the case, then every single angel was up there moving grand pianos or some equally big piece of furniture last night and not one of them could decide where best to place the piece.

“Honey, move it a bit to the left, no a bit more. Maybe it would look better over by the window.”

You get my drift, right?

If my children were still toddlers I would have explained that storm as angels having one of those old-school dance contests like they had in the 1940’s where the last couple standing wins. There was nary a pause between flashes for more than an hour.

As the storm finally started moving out toward the ocean, I walked down to the May River and watched. The lightning was horizontal, not vertical, and some bolts split off into dozens of fingers that etched across the entire horizon. What a show!

With all this wild weather flying around, fishing has been out of the question for the past week. Thinking ahead about this column’s theme (something I rarely do), I began scratching my head about the time the first rain hit, knowing that the rest of the week was to be more of the same.

I seriously hadn’t planned on eating up space talking about thunder storms and lightning but those thunder boomers last night were just way too spectacular not to mention.

Many of my columns come from inspiration that hit me in the oddest places or at the most unexpected times. Having pretty much blown what I had intended to write about, hopefully I have enough space left to tease you a bit.

Since I have spent most of my life in the world of art and design, it should come as no surprise that I am an avid watcher. Even when driving, if I catch a glimpse of some bird way up riding the thermals I have to look. Is it an eagle, an osprey or maybe a swallow-tailed kite? It’s just my nature.

The same goes if I am on the water or walking my beagle. I cannot tell you how many once-in-a-lifetime events in nature this trait has afforded me. If I had a video camera implanted in my skull, I would be rich right now by selling the film to National Geographic.

It was during a lull in the weather, while walking my beagle Butterbean that I caught a glimpse of some red bricks partially covered in dirt. Exciting huh? Actually, it was because as I got closer I saw that the bricks were settled at the base of a tree and the roots had conformed perfectly to the 90-degree edges of the bricks.

To top that off, some sort of bird had built its nest on this natural sculpture, completing this one-in-a-million piece of art. It was as if I had discovered a masterpiece hidden under another artist’s sub-standard painting.

Between frog-choker rain storms, sheet lightning and my newly acquired piece of art, I would say nature is on a roll.

Taking a line out of my favorite Pink Floyd song to praise all that nature gives me, “All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.” And folks, what a wall it is.