October 28th, 2013



The 10-minute drive home from work was exciting to say the least since we are in the middle of a class-3 storm and it was already in full gale-force mode as I left the building. All day the rain beat down and the clouds powered along and the sun came out at intervals for as if for half-hearted reassurance.

There have been a few "tornado-level" storms in the nearly 17 years I've lived here. One ripped the corrugated plastic roof off the porch of our old house. One knocked down a zillion trees on the hill up to Dalby, and one flipped our giant trampoline sideways up against the side of this house a couple of years back. Tonight's another humdinger.

The car was shaking and shimmying in the parking lot, just enough to be mildly alarming and leaves were swirling and flocking in whirling dervish frenzies along all the streets and roads, spinning up into deciduous funnel clouds and spiraling out of control before winging away. I suspect leaves will find they've traveled thousands of miles over the course of the night. Maybe seeds along with them, and suddenly in a couple of years we'll have strange sprouts in Småland from milder climes down south. Every tree was bent and whipping, the surprised undersides of leaves shining silver and flickering madly in the breeze. Some of the willows with longer branches looked like crazed rock hippies headbanging in the autumn moshpit.

The water catchment ponds, normally placid and unruffled were whipped up, a turbulent tossing of whitetips. No swans or geese or ducks in sight; every winged thing has hopefully battened down its feathered hatches. The usual traffic jam leading up to our exit was more than double, everyone pulling over to the shoulder, blinking their hazards and inching up the incline. The wind had been at my back all the way down the hill from Lund but as I turned onto 104, the wind slammed into the side of the car with a ferocious strength and the car shuddered and shook as we flew toward Flyinge.

All the fields were waving, silver and green, silver and brown, rippling under the pressure of the wind. I couldn't pull all the way up into the driveway until I'd stopped and gotten out and righted the garbage bins and picked up the trash that had spilled out. I anchored them (hopefully enough) against the lip of the pavement.

My family is on their way home tonight, driving in the teeth of the gale. I suspect they will have to spend another night in Germany, along with hundreds of other stranded travelers...all train traffic and boat traffic is shut down, and no cars allowed across the Öresund bridge either. When I talked to them on the phone, Karin related the info that her friend Hannah, who is with them, found out when she called HER parents, that their entire PORCH, glass windows, roof and all, had blown away.

The wind is howling around the corners of the house, heading north. I can hear it rattle the vent above the stove every now and then, and once the lights dimmed. The water in the taps is sluggish as well, something that has happened during other storms and I hope it doesn't mean I won't be able to shower in the morning.

I'm almost afraid to look out the windows. What if everything is black and white and Miss Gulch is out there, cycling along with Toto in her basket?