R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Weather (page 1 of 4)

Hillside Monday: 10/15/18

“Ahead of the Storm, Jefferson Street”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Hillside Monday: 10/1/18

“Amethyst Clouds”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Wednesday Photo: 9/26/18

“Rainy Day View, Corner Booth”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Hillside Monday: 9/17/18

“Roof and Sky, Two Days Before Disaster”
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 June 2018
In memory of John McNamara (1961-2018)

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Friday Photo: 9/14/18

“Sunset, Yellow Jacket Creek”
Troup County, Georgia – 2014

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Wednesday Photo: 9/5/18

“Sunset on the Chattahoochee”
Franklin, Georgia – 2017

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Hillside Monday: 8/6/18

“Any Porch In a Storm”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

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Hillside Monday: 7/9/18

“Sepia Storm Clouds”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

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Hillside Monday: 6/25/18

“Sky on Fire, Hillside”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016

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Hillside Monday: 6/4/18

“Sunset in Blue and Flame”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016

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Hillside Monday: 4/23/18

“Another Storm in Hillside”
LaGrange, Georgia – 10 April 2015

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Driving Home from Jonesboro, Arkansas

There are few experiences more peaceful, or more satisfying, than driving 500 miles home past rail yards and ports and farmland.

Northeastern Arkansas feels a lot like southern Georgia. It’s flat and swampy, yet fertile. In the fields on both sides of most every highway, massive sprinkler systems on wheels sleep, biding their time before the summer drought. Unlike southern Georgia, though, I saw no Arkansas cattle egrets carpeting either moos or soybean fields. Nor did I swat at gnats every other breath, like I never got used to doing when I was a kid visiting my aunt in Sylvester or Ashburn or Tifton.

There’s a spare, half-wild, desperate natural beauty there. It’s same kind of beauty that an artist friend once said makes southern Georgia “the most beautiful, desolate, forsaken place on earth—praise God.”

Watching the storm as I drove was frightening and sublime. The sky turned an unnerving shade of pinkish-green. Outside Memphis, I saw five bolts of lightning hit the ground at once. A little further up the road, I drove across both Hell Creek and the Tallahatchie Bridge. No Billy Joe McAllister, though.

Between Tyronza (pop. 762) and Jonesboro, the shoulder of the access road along Interstate 555 was on fire: three triangular-shaped patches of grass ablaze at dusk. Maybe it was the lightning from the storm. Maybe it was an alien spacecraft landing mishap. In this wide, semi-sandy, rural dream world, anything seems possible.

West of Marked Tree, Arkansas, railroad tracks parallel US Highway 63. I raced a long, long BNSF, the kind that requires four big orange locomotive engines, into town. Outrunning a train in a Honda Civic feels wrong.

The soil in Arkansas is unlike any I’ve seen. Sandy tan on top, with newly plowed furrows of deep coffee brown. Near Lepanto, a huge John Deere cut S-shaped disc rows into a fallow field every 100 feet. In other fields, brilliant yellow-flowering cover crops stretched for hundreds of acres on either side of the highway.

Outside Maumelle, a large squirrel darted across a rain-beaten furrowed sandy field. “What are you doing? Trying to get picked up by a hawk?” I said to the silence in the car. Three hundred feet across the same field, a Rottweiler mix trotted along with a limp brown broken creature in its mouth. The little brown tail flopped to the beat of the dog’s proud steps.

From Jonesboro to the Mississippi River, red-winged blackbirds swooped from fence post to fence post. Little red-and-yellow epaulets on little daredevil black birds—flash-flash-flash, swoop-swoop-swoop, waving me home-home-home.

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Hillside Monday: 3/19/18

If you don’t write the book you have to write, everything breaks.
— A.M. Homes

“For Wes, Part 17”
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 May 2017

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Wednesday Photo: 3/7/18

“Sadness, Part 1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 4 April 2014

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Tonight, I dream of Nashville, where a low pressure system wraps the city in a thick wintry blanket. How beautiful it would be to see the oxbows of the Little Harpeth, the girders of the Shelby Street Bridge, and the ear-tufts of the Bat Building swept by wind—swaddled in snow, glazed in sleet and freezing rain.

Tonight, I long to wake to the great roaring silence of snow. Through the perforated Bakelite cube at my bedside, a half-human, half-computer voice consoles me with a NOAA lullaby. “Currently in Nashville: snow, 28 degrees. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect. Elsewhere in Tennessee…”

Tonight, indeed, my mind is elsewhere—in Tennessee. I imagine the crisis-comfort of winter weather: the deafening hush of heavy, wet snowflakes, the flik-flik-flik of ice on plant and ground, the muffled grrrrddddtttt of tires against slush in the parking lot of a tiny apartment on White Bridge Road. Just beyond my window, the splash of cold black-white-clear lacquer soothes me to sleep, to work, to live.

Tonight, in west central Georgia, I stock up on bread, milk, and bottled water. I surrender my hopes. I play along at home.

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Friday Photo: 12/22/17

“Oncoming Storm with Shadows, in Blue”
LaGrange, Georgia – 22 July 2015

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Hillside Monday: 11/20/17

“Back Yard with Window Screen and Hurricane Irma”
LaGrange, Georgia – 11 September 2017

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Friday Photo: 11/10/17

I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.
— Georgia O’Keeffe

“For Wes, Part 11”
LaGrange, Georgia – 5 September 2017

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Hillside Monday: 11/6/17

“Storm in Hillside, Late July”
LaGrange, Georgia – 21 July 2015

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Hillside Monday: 10/2/17

“Sunset, Late August”
LaGrange, Georgia – 19 August 2017

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