I remember last summer a stretch of days that stretched themselves so long and so tight with hot, hot heat that they dried up, became brittle and crumbled into sand. And Louisville became a desert. We all died. Of thirst. Of sun stroke. Of rattlesnake bites from this heat. Maybe you remember. Maybe not.
But we were saved eventually. All the white flags of surrender. All the war-torn rain dancing. Prayer. Mercy. And the primitive gods in the clouds came. They rode in over our heads on horses made of nimbostratus and cumulonimbus and whatever else is needed. Smashed themselves with hammers. With mallets and sticks and dried-out bones and whatever else was laying around in the leather sky. And, god, did it ever storm. Did it ever.
The green kind. Green everywhere. Saturated like we be livin’ inside the belly of a magic marker. Silverfish rain falling like sheet metal. I stood on my balcony and just died. I died all over the place because we were rescued from life in the desert.
Storms are amazing. So amazing that some people in the world chase them. And here is the man who chased down the Stormchasers:
Join author Lee Sandlin for a special reading and signing of his newest book that charts the incredible history of those weather-tracking nutters tonight, April 24th, at Carmichael’s Bookstore. Starting at 7pm Sandlin will present the stories of the pioneering scientists that follow unpredictable weather with The Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers.
The latest release from Sandlin, The Storm Kings draws from memoirs, letters, eyewitness testimonies and archives to piece together the exciting and quirky origins of Stormchasers, beginning with some of the earliest accounts including Ben Franklin’s famous experiments as well as the tall tales of early settlers in America’s tornado-rich heartland. Sandlin, a book reviewer for The Wall Street Journal, is also the author of Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild, with his essay, “Losing the War”, likewise published in the anthology The New Kings of Nonfiction. Copies of The Storm Kings are available in hardcover at both Carmichael's locations for $26.95.
Find Sandlin tonight at the Frankfurt Avenue store for a look at the mad scientists of meteorology. They did the first rain dances in the desert. They were the first to look up and see the old gods in the sky hammering at their horse-clouds. And these forefathers decided to chase them because storms are just amazing. Are they ever.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfurt Avenue. For more information, visit the event page or call the Frankfurt Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com