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Lucky Strike

by Patrick Morrison, May 30, 10:37 AM

I might have referenced it before…Raymond Chandler’s wonderfully visual words on the Santa Ana wind phenomenon that occurs in Southern California.

“those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”
from his story Red Wind

If you have experienced them, you know how spot on he was in both the emotional and physical portrayal.

Moving on, there is another equally impressive weather pattern that occurs here in the south in spring and summer. On a hot humid day it’s not uncommon for a passionate and violent thunderstorm to move in just as everyone is getting their evening on, ruining the second cocktail, pushing everyone indoors. Such has been the case in the last few nights here in Durham. Last night in particular was impressive and beautiful.

Lucky Strike
/> Digital snapshot May 2009

This was taken from the American Tobacco Campus around 7pm. The acoustic folk band that was playing under neath this 80ft, 134 year old lightning rod er tower for the folks on the lawn was ceased and as we were leaving there was talk of canceling the Durham Bulls game underway.

We cleared out sure enough and headed home, in South Durham while the storm pushed north.

That tower to me just seems begging god for a light or a not-so-lucky strike. It’s fascinating how quickly things can turn. The air drops 3-5 degrees in a matter of minutes, winds change patterns and a certain atmospheric chaos seems upon you, the cool wet smell of rain comes takes over. At anytime a bolt of lightning and sheet of rain could come upon you.

I couldn’t recall any southern literature that aptly describes such an event well as Chandler’s does of the Santa Ana’s . Should anyone know of something, please share.




The Accidental Trancendentalist 2008 Patrick Morrison