Weather (or not)

We got a dose of heavy weather last night. Looking at skies and radar as the sun went down we could see it barreling in from the West, so it wasn’t unexpected. And sure enough, around 9:15pm it started raining big drops, followed by thunder and high winds — I don’t know if we saw the 50mph blow that was predicted, but Ernie sure was a-rockin’ for a while.

Then came the hail.

The roof over our heads is plastic and fiberglass. The sound of one-inch hailstones pelting the coach, especially clattering on three exhaust-fan caps and a skylight, couldn’t help but concern us. The din lasted about ten minutes, followed by an hour or so of heavy rain.

Best we can tell, we suffered no damage. I’ll get up there later and take a little closer look.

Once the rain stopped I opened the door and stepped outside. Lightning still flashed in the sky to the south, illuminating the landscape like midday. The wind had eased.

I drew a deep breath of cool night air and was startled by the strong smell of sagebrush. Rain, probably aided by hail, had released its sweet fragrance, the same way I had when I rolled the leaves between my fingers the other day.

It was quite overwhelming, a first for me — I’d never experienced anything like it.

I made a memory right then and there. Didn’t see that one comin’.

The selection of souvenir t-shirts at the trading post up the road is pretty much what you’d imagine — Little Bighorn (both sides of the battle), Crow and tributes to other Indian tribes, celebrations of Montana and so on. One tee in particular caught my eye for its subtle use of a familiar song lyric:

“Turn me loose, set me free / Somewhere in the middle of Montana.”

Those lines are from “Big City,” written by Merle Haggard some 40 years ago. They’d been bouncing around in my head since we crossed the state line Monday, and I decided to buy the shirt.

They didn’t have my size.

Still, I wanted to preserve the sentiment somehow. I snapped a photo of the straw Stetson I’d bought in Bandera, incorporated Haggard’s words and posted it to social media.

And now I’m sharing it here.

I could make a strong case that those words capture perfectly the essence of what I’ve been feeling the last few days.

While we mark time out here on the prairie, enjoying the relative tranquility of this sagebrush steppe, it’s tempting to unplug completely from the wider world and block any information about what’s happening out there. That’s not who we are, of course, and we continue to keep close watch on current events.

We have decent campground WiFi here and a solid signal on our MiFi brick, as well as great Verizon reception. The combination lets us grab news however we choose — Web, social media, even streaming video.

So yes, we’re aware of what’s happening in Afghanistan.

We already know that America is in deep trouble. Many of you understand what I mean. But if for some reason you didn’t believe that, the events of the last week leave you no excuse.

There’s no denying that the greatest nation on earth is suffering under a regime characterized by personal incompetence and anti-American political malice. Yeah, maybe reading that spoils your enjoyment of my daily travelogue, but it’s beyond credible dispute. It has to be said.

It’s the truth. It’s important. And true Americans will voice and act out their opposition with all their might.

At the same time that we’re focused on Afghanistan and countless other foreign-policy blunders, we can’t afford to take our eyes off of what’s happening in DC. The cabal that botched Kabul is still bent on undermining our Liberty. We shouldn’t let them exploit an oceans-away “crisis” to distract us.

America is in great peril. Last week Deb and I looked up at the faces of Washington and Jefferson on Mount Rushmore and pledged that we wouldn’t let them down. We intend to keep that promise.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

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