Jay Meehan: The soft rumblings of thunder in the Heber Valley
There’s something dear to my longtime pact with the natural elements that continues to resonate whenever the soft rumblings of thunder echo off the hillsides surrounding the once much-more-quaint Heber Valley.
The manner in which they continue to express themselves as they build upon each other and complete each lap of the alluvial plain that defines both our geography and geology is most endearing. Almost always, the raindrops are fat and few but these days it’s the song itself that is most welcome.
To be sure, up here in the foothills, it’s a comfort zone. Even during those rare moments when the rumblings change their attitude and become anything but soft. Startling cracks that shred the fabric of space-time can be like dropping the red pill of consciousness in “The Matrix.” You are instantaneously jarred into a “woke” mentality.
It is a “high” that needs to be appreciated and ridden out and, not unlike the end of a dream, one from which you come down. The comfort component gets worked into your musculature to the point where, once the natural flow of dopamine is cut off, you’re reminded that you don’t miss your water ‘till the well runs dry.
There were moments back in the day, however, when our small craft armada would gather in a line upon Deer Creek Reservoir just off Charleston Town to await holiday fireworks on “Cinco de MoMo.” For us Heber boat-folk, it became an annual rite of passage into which newcomers were properly initiated.
In those cases, both cacophonous and concussive detonations often achieved crescendo. And, since the hills were ever-so close at hand, the much-shorter sound waves would, without much warning, begin speaking in tongues – a language, by the way, spoken fluently and returned in kind by the canines of our tribe.
This morning found me welcoming the soft rumblings out on the deck with a broad-brimmed lid and a doctored cup of Joe. “Splat” called out the sporadic droplets, easily having been condensed from sufficient atmospheric water vapor and succumbing to available gravity. Not that its sum total posed any threat to our ongoing drought.
To the cat, dogs, and horses on property, the collective reaction mirrored that experienced by your humble scribe. The sole sounds were of the reverie persuasion, almost Zen-like in their slow single-nostril exhalations. Doves and Magpies went about their avian chores pretty much unperturbed. As did the resident hare population boppin’ about the sagebrush.
It became evident early on, to this particular life-form anyway, that neither the soft rumblings of thunder nor the moisture content thereof were going to be sufficient to that required by any reasonable coefficient of ecstasy. Easily enough to seduce one into daydreams, however.
We abided for a spell, nature and I, first on the deck, even after the remaining caffeine-infused liquid adjourned to once again become one with the vapor of its birth, and next by a mosey through the paddock, pen, corral labyrinth to check on the status of the current equine quartet.
It became evident right off that equilibrium had been achieved upon the five-acres-in question. Ongoing assemblies of “road apples” were structurally strewn about as is their wont – not that further organization of the tractor and rake variety wouldn’t be required for them to complete their mission. I love the smell of horse manure in the morning!
Although the horses didn’t act like they were longing for me by any means, they didn’t exactly scatter upon my approach either. That’s a good thing. Due to one of the nags garnering a “does not play well with others” designation, they are currently not all in possession of a “hall pass.” I am, however. Which is also a good thing.
Another good thing is that it’s cooling down somewhat. Not that this state of affairs has affected visibility much by any stretch. Looking down across the valley from the foothills remains reminiscent of, when L.A.-bound, coming off Cajon Pass into the soup that begins at San Bernardino.
The smoke out West is pretty much omnipresent and thick and, if my fire map negotiations have improved to any degree, pretty much apt to stay that way. While I’m at it, how about a tip of the hard hat to all those Pulaski-toting Nomex-sporting firefighters on the front lines of this amazingly volatile fire season.
May the day arrive soon when they are in a position to mosey out to a deck with a doctored cup of Joe and become one with the soft rumblings of thunder.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
$110.7 million could be spent on doing a lot more good than just the acquisition of a Monet, Tom Clyde writes.