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August Break – August 4th

Castles in the Air

One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of August in Arizona has to be the huge thunderheads that build up every afternoon around the Valley.  They can stretch 30,000 feet or more into the sky.  The monsoons bring powerful thunderstorms that can wreak havoc very quickly, and then disappear almost instantly.  These towering clouds always remind me of a chapter in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”  The chapter is called “Castles in the Air,” and in the copy of the book that I had as a young girl, there was an illustration of enormous, billowing clouds on the horizon that looked almost like a fortress or a castle.

This photo was taken with a wary eye on the horizon, as I left work yesterday.  Clouds were building all around us.  Ben had football practice from 5:30 to 7:00, in a park about twenty minutes from our house in the northwest part of the valley.  Isabel decided to stay home.  The thought of sitting on a folding chair, sweating it out in 106 degree heat, battling ants and baby dragonflies held no appeal for her.

Dave & I had been sitting on the sidelines chatting with other parents, watching the setting sun through the partial shade of sissoo trees and a bank of quickly moving clouds.  My phone rang at about 7:00.  It was Isabel, saying that rain was blowing sideways and that there was all sorts of lightning & thunder right over her head.  From our vantage point, we could see the exact cloud that was dumping on our house.  It was almost like a cartoon, in that there was completely blue sky all around, and one intense curtain of rain & lightning falling in one concentrated area.  And, the cloud was coming directly at us…fast!

The coaches realized that the park was in the path of the storm, and wrapped up practice early.  The parents all quickly folded up their chairs, gathered their huge bladder-buster drinks and hustled the boys to the cars.

By the time we got on the road and got to our house, the storm had all but evaporated.  The gutters were flooded and running full down our street; but, above us, only blue sky remained.

The castles could be seen again today, but they didn’t develop into any sort of storm.  We typically see them run in cycles of one every three days or so.   I can sit and look at the clouds for hours.  It’s one thing that I enjoy about having an office with a window.

I’m participating in Susannah Conway’s August Break project:

The plan is: you simply share  one photo  (or more!) per day on your blog – Monday to Friday, or every  day .Or whenever you feel moved to share. Using any camera – DSLR, compact,  Polaroid,  Holga, iPhone (my  choice), Instax, film or digital – with or  without words –  anything goes! – for the whole of August.  No pressure  – just looking at August through  your camera lens as a  way to be more  present this summer. And to have a  little break from  the pressures and  expectations of regular (wordy) blogging.

There are NO RULES, people! Just sunshine (hopefully) and a bit of fun. And lots of lovely photos to look at.

If you’d like to join, follow this link:  http://www.susannahconway.com/page/2/