Friday, February 01, 2013

Today's Photo Journal: Nature's Fury

Like most of the eastern United States, we've experienced a wild shift in weather over the last few days.  Suddenly, instead of unseasonable warmth, the temperatures dropped and the wind howled for two straight days, leaving us slightly cooler and breezier than before. 

When these crazy fronts move through, the normally serene bay behind our house reminds us that it is, in fact, part of the larger Gulf and that the tides and wind can combine to create mighty waves.  Usually, this happens at night, and as the ritual goes, I brace in bed listening to the wind whistling through our windows (they need to be replaced...badly) and at first light open the curtains to survey the damage.  Invariably, we find the boat straps a tangled mess and several boards missing. 

That the bay can look so utterly calm again in the wake of so much damage always amazes me.

So imagine the excitement two days ago when the mega-front pushed across the nation and we actually observed nature's fury at work on our dock during the daylight hours.  Our dock is probably about eight feet above the sea floor.  It's strange to see it covered in water given that low tide in winter frequently exposes beach out to the end of the pier.  

We were blessed to weather this one with almost no damage -- I just had to walk the length, hammer in hand, and put a few raised nails back to bed.  (Reminds me of a favorite saying:  If the only tool in your toolkit is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.)  Our next door neighbors' dock is older and a bit lower.  They usually don't get off so easy.  Several sections of their dock were recently reinforced (thanks to the last storm), so they only lost a few boards this time -- see them floating in the water?

This is my favorite shot.

When the waves hit just below the lower walkway, the pressure shoots the water between the boards.  The result is a treat for the eyes and ears.  Not only does the water give a miniature Bellagio-like fountain show, (sometimes shooting 7 or 8 feet into the air), but it also makes a very cool the sound of someone playing a scale on a wooden xylophone.