A Moment in Time
by Patrick Harman
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The sky began to darken in the West. The clouds out ahead of the approaching darkness glowed in sunlight. They gave away that the storm to come, as if it would even attempt to hide itself. These summer storms have no desire to hide themselves. Quite the contrary, they flaunt themselves as they make there appearance on a summer afternoon or evening.
However, there was that one time that a summer thunderstorm sneaked up on me from the northeast as I was out sailing near a beach on the western shore. I saw the clouds, but thought, "Nothing to worry about, they are in the east". Before I knew it I was being blown by hard winds and pushed by the waves towards the cliffs! I had to jump into the water and walk and swim the boat ashore. A lesson learned, remember, weather can move from northeast to southwest!
The high, bright clouds reaching to the stratosphere have flattened out, and now cover half the sky. The horizon is increasingly growing darker now. I sit here on my porch taking it all in.
It was a typical summer day here on the Chesapeake Bay, hot and humid. I look out over the land and give thanks for this place that the Lord provided for me. It sits directly on the Bay looking towards the western horizon. A great location for star-gazing in a very dark sky.
Several boats head for safe harbor.
I was glad I went crabbing in the morning, while it was not too hot. There was plenty for us for the next few days.
To my right the countryside spreads into the distance. Occasional lines of trees do little to block the view of the farmland. I love the Eastern Shore, how the land is flat for miles.
Looking south down the shoreline is the marsh and impoundments. They are full of migrating shorebirds now. This morning there were numerous species intently feeding to prepare for their long trip to the tropics, including: plovers, skimmers, dowitchers, black terns, sandpipers, terns, gulls, several types of herons and egrets, and even some avocets. I heard a king rail and watched a harrier (marsh hawk), always a favorite, silently glide and soar right above the marsh.
Well, now the storm was closer demanding more attention. The wind started to pick up. There were signs of a squall line.
I considered how for hundreds of years this scene has been repeated. Many times someone sat here and watched a storm with anticipation and awe. There were no forecasts or weather radar, They had to take it as it came. An opportunity for an exercise in faith that the Lord would see them though and protect them. This land, I came to learn, has been farmed for generations. This house has been here since the early seventeen hundreds, not long after the area was first settled. I thought, how awesome that I have been counted among those chosen to participate in this timeless experience. Will someone sit here several hundred years from now, thinking the same thoughts?
That was hundreds of years before there was a Bay bridge. The only way here was by boat or a long land trek across the Sesquehanna River and down the peninsula.
The squall line now rolled across the farm. The clouds looked like an angry sea, but thankfully, no rotation. Looking to the horizon, it was now uniform gray. The western shore just disappeared. Now that it was getting on towards sunset, the lightening was quite visible. Soon, thunder could be heard.
I got up and stood by the door, as the heavy rain and wind soaked where I had just been sitting. Thank you Lord for the rain, how we need it. I headed inside now and closed the door, leaving the storm. Time to fix those crabs, I'm starving.
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