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Some Kids I Have Known
Dust Devils


September holds us in a state of anticipation like someone just dabbling their toe in the water to see if it is too cold for a swim. Certainly the test is not necessary. We know by all means we will swim regardless of how cold the water is.

A poem reminds us of the dust devils of summer. The cool upon us now gives us an awareness of our position as to the season. Maybe if we remember the dust devils of summer and even more if we discuss the twirling mischievous children of their greater cousin, the tornado,  the cold of winter might hold off for a while.

Kelsy listened with interest as her mother read a poem as warm and strong as the dust devils of which it too spoke.  “I love those things.”

The young woman smiled. “This summer I wanted Jesse to see one so I took the back road off the highway. We thought we saw one but when we got closer it was only a farmer plowing his field.  Finally we had just about given up on seeing one when we were just a short distance from the highway and there was a big one, right there in front of us.  Jesse was so excited to watch the tall column of dust whipping around and around strong enough for us to actually hear it.  I wanted to get out of the car and jump around in it but thought better of doing that.”

“Don't ever.  Sometimes, they pick up power and actually can take you up like a small tornado only to drop you quite a distance away.  It might not hurt you, but, then again, it might.  Certainly, it will be an experience you will not wish to repeat.  A child who weighs less and is lighter can go right up into them.”

Kelsy was listening and thinking. “I'm sure of that. Once when we were on the interstate we saw one. We were  on the way to Wichita, Kansas. This dust devil  was huge.  I think it must have been close to thirty feet tall, at least.  It did not move, but stayed in one place spinning and whipping around.”

Kelsy's mother was remembering her cousin from so many years ago. The girl's mother said the girl had been fascinated with them also. The child ran carelessly toward them because she loved playing in the wind. One day though, the swirling twisting winds were of a larger scale. As it picked the girl up and carried her quite a distance the mother said she was very much afraid and even though the child was not hurt, it was enough of a jolt to her so that she never wished to repeat the experience. In other words she didn't run into them and jump up anymore.

After her daughter left the mother had an opportunity to reflect on what the girl said about the very large dust devil she had seen on the interstate highway. The older woman also remembered having seen one on that road. It was strangely out of place too. The biggest, tallest dust devil she had ever seen was almost in front of her. For some reason the ancient forces of nature looked totally like it did not belong where it was. The speeding fast moving flashy cars zooming by along side  the powerful big trucks were what this world was about.  Certainly there was no room for something with such raw, swift, determined will moving out of control with no one knowing in which direction it was to turn.  Maybe it was the last hoorah  for what was left of the old west.

See http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/Flagstaff/science/dustdvl.htm


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