Saturday's dust storm was one of the most outstanding storms we have had in a number of years. Actually, it was a dirt and gravel storm much of the time because the dust blew away early, leaving only the heavier materials to lift into the air.
People who have not lived here very long expressed amazement that such a storm could even happen. Others who have lived here only a few years have not had the opportunity to eat so much grit in such a short time.
Travelers learned that getting off the highway was a good idea. Watching the big trucks and motor homes doing jigs on the interstate was a bit frightening. Driving any kind of vehicle demanded more attention than usual. Just seeing the hood ornament (had there been a hood ornament) caused most of us to squint at times.
Blinding snow storms and foggy conditions cause us to make many comments and to be particularly attentive to our driving skills. We may have a hard time seeing the road during such storms, but we have different problems when driving in blinding dirt storms because we are not used to being pushed around by the winds.
We slide on ice and know we are not in control, but the winds are tricky, giving us a feeling of safety just before they hit from another direction or send tumbleweeds whirling over our vehicles. Hearing the gravel hitting the windshields and bodies of the vehicles also lets us know we are being sand blasted. Only hail seems to be able to do more damage, but flying
debris gives us reason to be concerned.
Some of us were visiting about earlier storms we endured in our childhoods and smiled a bit as we recalled some of our experiences. Of course, school dress codes were such that girls were not allowed to wear pants to school; thus, we had much trouble in those storms as the gravel blasted our bare legs.
I well remember waiting for a slight lull in the breeze, running like mad, then stooping to cover my legs when the heavy dirt would hit head on. We learned a lot about timing and hunting almost any kind of shelter as we walked to school or did our outdoor chores.
We have learned to live in constant hope that we will have enough moisture one of these days so we won't have such storms for a while. Besides all the problems they cause on the land, those same storms create all too many changes in our dispositions. If we can just remain fairly calm and control our tempers, we will manage to survive such storms and look forward to seeing our beautiful blue skies and clear air.
"True grit" is needed.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.