write about some big weather you experienced.

one of my early summers was hot and dry, and the rain held off long throughout the summer months. i remember my elders talking about the crops and how no rain will affect the corn in the fields, their green stalks already taller than i. in the evenings, while i ran around outside through stubbly grass, the sun continued to beat down, low and orange in the sky as i stared out over the field on the north side of the farm. the winds blew across the field from the pig farm, from across our field and again the fields of my aunt and uncle. days and days like this.

then one afternoon the sky turned greenish yellow, and humidity hung in the air so thick i felt like i could stick out my tongue to get it wetter than it was in my mouth. my dad hung around outside on the porch, walking the driveway, hiking out to the edge of the field, even though it was not his corn. my mom turned on the tv and watched the local channel to see if there would be a tornado warning.

eventually the sirens rang, alerting us that a tornado had been spotted. by this time rain had started to dot the dust in our gravel driveway, making large, dark spots out of light tan. soon the spots melted together and the driveway was no longer dust.

my mom hustled me down to the cellar, which was in the back-back room underneath a piece of floorboards that swung up to reveal crumbling cement steps that led to a dark, damp hole in the ground with one small window on the east-facing side. i remember seeing my dad still watching the outside from the doorway in the room as i descended into the hole.  my mom went back up to get liz – a baby – and came back down, now with my dad, and the long, heavy cellar door came down on her head as she was making her way down the steps.

we waited in the cellar, which had a lantern and a weather radio in it as far as i can remember, until the threat of tornado passed.

by this time, my uncle squire had come out to the farm, and he, my dad, and i got in my dad’s orange and white pickup in the rain, drove the short distance to the edge of the cornfield, and watched the rain come down, windshield wipers steady against the rain. afterwards, one of the wallace men claimed to have seen the corn actually grow.

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