Wednesday, November 25, 2015

First Word: Pamela Yorston: Energy

Electricity, collecting in the atmosphere, pulling together in an incandescent mass, forking out in a million fiery veins, lighting up the night sky with the flash of a trillion flash-bulbs.  And then darkness – pause - a rumble - pause - an ear-splitting crack that echoes and continues and grows. The sound fills the valley and then recedes.  The ancient hills crouch in the darkness.  Nothing has happened – as far as they know.

            I often sat at night at the picture-window at Longmile, the house up on the hill overlooking La Cumbre.  If you’ve never witnessed a summer storm in Cordoba, you’ve never really seen it rain.  The volume of water pouring down completely obscures the view three feet ahead of you.  Fat torrents bounce and splash upwards, making umbrellas and rain apparel a hopeless joke.  Water swells in gutters, covers roads, and pours down hills driving everything before it.
            One such storm raged in the spring of 1915.  The water dragged away vehicles and houses, and people to their deaths.  No drainage system could cope with the volume of a small ocean tearing through a town.  Raymond Bennet had been warned about erecting his house on the bend in the river.  “It’s built of stone,” he’d said.  After that, the inhabitants of La Cumbre were afraid.  Nature was so much bigger and more powerful than they.
            But this is 2015 and we are not afraid.  We happily pave the countryside, build on river beds, harness streams and change the landscape.  We build in cement.
          Nature bides her time and smiles. 

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