If you’re on my FaceBook or Twitter feeds, you watched this one unfold. The evening clouds coming in over the mountains weren’t a surprise–we knew about the rain.
When the hail started, that wasn’t a surprise, either. Biggie marble-size hail is common enough around here. It squalls through in pretty short order.
I mean, usually.
This time, there was nothing usual about it–although as golf balls started to spang off glass and we crated the dogs away from the windows, we still thought it would pass.
Because, I mean, usually.
But within moments I was pressed against the leeward office window, watching DuncanHorse hurl himself around a paddock slippery with accumulating inches of hail–scrabbling, falling, and beyond rational equine thought. Talk about feeling helpless…oh, I cried for DuncanHorse!
This lasted for approximately…forever.
(Yes, I’m pretty it was about that long.)
The hail piled up in drifts that would take days to melt, sandblasting the world. When it finally–FINALLY–eased, I went out to comfort Duncan with his blanket (he’s too dignified to call it a blankie, but same effect), and gave him bute and a bonus snack of hay. I won’t say he leaped into my arms upon my arrival, but it was a close thing.
The next days were all about discovering damage: Garbage can, holed; gutter drains, bashed; van, battered (to the tune of $6600), one solar tube cover split. The roof damage is of yet undetermined–the special insurance catastrophe teams are here, but taking weeks to work through the backlog.
My lush fall wildflowers turned into food processor fodder; we lost a little yard tree and are crossing our fingers for this year’s other painstaking transplants. The wild juniper/pinon arroyo lands around us were thinned to a veil–neighbors across the valley are suddenly visible. The wild grasses were flattened, the roadside ditches held mini-glaciers of hail flow, and the giant sunflowers canted wildly out of the ground under their own weight.
OH. The agility equipment. Battered, shattered, shredded. I saved the table (it’s already repainted) and the A-frame (ditto), but the dogwalk…maybe salvageable, maybe not. Insurance folks check it out this week, along with the teeter, tunnels and broad jump–and the barn, which gurgles mysteriously and has water in its structure somewhere.
As for DuncanHorse, it took five days before he shook off the soreness and the shock, but he’s back to being his opinionated self and would not care to admit he was ever in need of a blankie and a hug.
All in all, that storm left behind a little slice of damage remarkable for its completeness. No exposed car or household in this little area escaped; no skylight survived. While most of the damage occurred tightly local to us, the storm also hit weirdly northwest of us to wreak havoc at Kewa Pueblo.
In the end, it’s all part of living along the Sandias. If the beauty of these high desert foothills is dramatic, so can be the weather. It’s also part of horsekeeping at home–and of being so drawn to the outdoors that the damage to the trees and flowers and the small creatures who perished now feels so deeply personal.
Of course, that doesn’t stop us from crying about it, or floundering to fit repairs and recovery into the following weeks, or wandering around in shock at the gut-deep understanding that no matter how well you prepare and provide for your outdoor kids, when nature comes along, it’s not always enough.
Patty at the Write Horse sure knows it, too–Friday gives us the storm from a Risotada Training point of view. But until then, we’re all still just putting things back together.
PS Dear Editor: v. sorry my proofs were pushing that deadline…