Lightning

Now is the time for dark green tropical clouds sweeping in from the northeast, whose origin in the Kimberley coast explains these rain, hail, lightning and thunder laden clouds. Last Monday, as I sheltered in the shed, one passed through. I saw it on the radar. It was long and slim with red & yellow polka dots moving east across the state. I judged it would take 7 minutes to pass. I was not far off. What was also not far off was one strike that was following immediately by a clap of thunder. It looked to make landfall just south of our southern boundary. Fifty ibis is that vicinity rose together in flight. I pitied my neighbour’s potential for harm and gave it no further thought. I was waiting to take out the sprayer.

When I reached the pump house I was greeted by a blank and silent electric pump controller. I checked the leads, power board and power points. The trouble was in the controller. The lightning had struck the switch in the south paddock and the shock had passed along the wires that accompany the pipes back to the pump house.  I switched from automatic to manual and was able to commence pumping. I needed the automatic function so that I could pump overnight.

I called Chris. He was gone for November but I hoped he might be back. No. I got his mobile’s message. ‘Phone Phil’. Phil did not want to come. I was able to convince him. He replaced the controller.

Then, three days later, the weather app showed a much larger system crossing the state, with threats of hail and lightning. I put on Billy Bragg, loud, just as we did at Daisy Hill, Queensland, when the real sub-tropical storms belted through, and sat and watched the performance in the fading evening light.

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