It's no secret that Oklahoma's weather is extreme. I don't really know what people from across the country think of when they think of Oklahoma, but I can pretty much guess that just as I involuntarily think of unshaven men in fishing pants when I picture Alaska and my mind's image of Florida is sprinkled with "elderly couples in mint Cadillac" confetti, I can probably assume the universal stereotypes of Oklahoma include some vague concept of a Southern Baptist theocracy in a Devil-went-down-to-Georgia battle with the ubiquitous Indian casinos and thousands of rubbernecking rednecks standing on their porches tornado watching.
And they would be kinda right on both counts.
I've lived in the city my whole life, and I'm indoctrinated to its ways. As I jaywalk to my car every evening, taking in the sounds of cars and trains and the electric buzzing of downtown, the comforting art deco giants looking down protectively, I find the thought of living in the midst of rural quiet a bit unsettling...a bit Deliverance. I'm not going to lie and pretend like I know much of anything about Oklahomans outside of the city. To my shame, when people begin listing off their tribally-named hometowns (Okemah, Coweta, Talladega), I realize my familiarity with most of them comes from watching the storm warnings roll across the bottom of the local news as I watch for Tulsa and pray the storm doesn't interrupt the broadcast of Community.
Most native Tulsans have the similar paradoxically warm childhood recollections of tornado warnings: being rushed into the bathroom, hallway, or (in our case) the "cubby hole" under the stairs, where we'd wait for hours sometimes, eating culinary abominations like canned cheese and chicken-n-a-biscuit crackers (a concept that defies the laws of God and man) while playing Monopoly or Clue by candlelight to the sound of sirens through wind until the storm passed. Honestly, storms are kind of fun to us.
Thunderstorms are kind of fun. Winter storms straight up suck. Case in point, last year's blizzard, when our central heat conveniently went on the fritz while we were snowed in for a week straight and our bath tub froze, literally a week after this sunny day picnic, and the devastating ice storm of 2007 (oddly and unfortunately, I was very pregnant for both of these events).
But even winter storms I can cope with. It's the Iraqi desert heat waves that make this place unbearable. This summer, for example, temperatures lingered over 100 hellish degrees from late June until the end of August in a record-breaking heat wave. On top of all the floods, droughts, microbursts like the one that flipped our neighbors' 18 foot trampoline onto their shed last year, ominous squall lines, golf-ball-sized hail, and other such miseries, the recent rash of earthquakes has prompted an even more menacing threat--a dramatic increase in talk of the "end times" inevitable in this part of the country (shudder).
But the truth is, anyone in 7th grade science can tell you that we live in the middle of the continent--in scientific terminology, the middle middle--near some pretty flat geography, where extreme weather is a fact of life. While it can be a drag, we do get surprised occasionally with unseasonably awesome days, as was the case last week. With three kiddos in the house now that Arthur's cousin Noah is going to be staying with us for a while, I took the hint, grabbing the stroller and a couple of bags for nature hunting.
It was an amazing day. Enjoy our pics.