Duane’s Folly – Chapter 1

The Storm

Duane looked through the window anxiously. Trees were still bending under force of cyclonic gusts while pieces of corrugated roofing were peeling off occasionally joining sundry other flying objects on their path of destruction. His eyes opened wide in surprise as they followed the direction of a crashing sound and he saw one object imbed itself deep into the spreading fig tree now almost stripped of foliage.

Birds were being swept around in the swirling winds desperate to avoid those flying objects. Their plaintive cries added to the urgency of the situation as he squinted through water smashing on the window pane. Some birds had made it to safety of home eaves and were hanging on grimly to any protrusion pecking fearfully at other birds trying to crowd in lest they be swept away by gusting winds.

Despite shrieking winds Duane imagined he heard frightened cries of animals led into the big barn for safety by his father. He knew they were not all there. Out there in distant paddocks nestling between hills of their property he could imagine the herd huddling together trying to use big trees in wooded areas as a buffer against wind and rain.

There would be no milking today. Their cattle dogs were hunkered down with barn animals ever watchful as Duane’s Dad Allan moved among the animals in the barn to try and keep them calm. Duane knew wind whistling through rafters would be unsettling them and now and then a bail of hay would be broken from moorings to sail through the air from upstairs storage and smash down on top of huddled animals causing bellows of fear and pain. Duane felt fear in his chest too as he thought of the peril his father would be in among those frightened animals. What if they should trample him in their fear?

Duane’s Mom Josephine, his Dad called her Jo as his pet name, sat serenely in the family room sewing. She and Allan had been raised in farming communities and the property they were on had originally belonged to Allan’s Great Grandfather. Jo had seen it all before and knew that no matter the damage caused in this storm they’d pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. They’d done it before, sometimes at starvation point to rebuild herds and facilities. Duane found her serenity comforting on this occasion but irritating when he wanted to do something, and his Mom said no ever so sweetly, but with an underlying strength he wouldn’t want to mess with. Farmer folk are raised with steel in their backbones.

The cyclone had been hovering over their area pounding its intensity into these hills and moving slowly inland. But as it began to lose its intensity Duane wanted to go see how his Dad had fared with the cattle in their big barn.

“The cyclone has gone over Mom, I’m going down to the barn to see how Dad is!”

Duane gingerly opened the back door to test intensity of winds outside and this alarmed his Mom who he heard getting up from the sewing table as a sudden gust hit her. He quickly darted downstairs before Mom could reach the kitchen door to catch him.

What Duane didn’t know was the eye of the storm was passing over. This gave the impression nature was at peace again. He heard his Mom calling urgently from behind as he sped down the trail to the big barn some distance from their living area. He hid under the remaining leafed area of the big fig tree to examine a sheet of iron imbedded deep into the tree.

“Wow, that could cut someone in half,” he said aloud to a group of unhappy soggy crows attached firmly to a tree branch. This diverted his attention from the goal to reach his Dad at the barn and he decided to inspect the farm now that nature was at peace. He sped down the hill toward the dam. He was far from home and speeding past the barn when his father caught sight of him.

“Duane, come inside. The storm aint over yet, so we must be careful of the tail end. Winds will be back!” Far up one of the hills Allan saw trees beginning to bend to horizontal position once again, but Duane didn’t hear him as he sped down the hill.

Then the cyclone hit again as the remainder of it passed overhead. It came with a sudden roar that caught Duane’s attention. By now he was by the stream that fed the dam. Still running high but he could see where he was standing in water that stream had been much higher earlier.

Then a wall of water driven by the intensity of the cyclone tail end came downhill again. Duane stood fascinated by its size and speed. He was riveted to the spot and his cry of fear was drowned out by the roar of winds as the water spread out and enveloped him.

Allan fought against the wind as he ran to try and save his son but was pushed to his hands and knees holding onto a fence post. The dogs commanded to stay in the shed were watching and barked in fear as they saw Allan on his knees.

To be continued.

“© Copyright Ian Grice,

ianscyberspace 2018 All rights reserved

Picture copyrighted to http://www.myinteresting facts.com

15 thoughts on “Duane’s Folly – Chapter 1

      1. There’s a natural disaster that can potentially happen anywhere. But heavy winds as in tornadoes, along with heavy rain as in hurricanes, are scary. I’ve lived in earthquake land all my life, so they don’t bother me, although a big one is projected for the future sometime. There’s just no escaping…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes the people in New Zealand live right on a fault line too and sometimes it devastates cities but people there just accept it and continue to want to live there because the country is just so beautiful. I’ve always enjoyed my stopovers in SFO. The bay is gorgeous and I particularly love some of those areas above the Golden Gate upwards toward Santa Rosa where all those expensive boats lie tied together in little bays. Wonderful sight.


  1. Very well written, Ian

    Love the choice of words and phrases. And the story is riveting. I have never experienced a cyclone but just did – through your words.

    Looking forward to the next chapter.

    Have a peaceful weekend,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife experienced one in the Philippines while I was away attending a conference in Singapore. She thought she was going to die but fortunately came through the experience. Coconuts were fired deep into the ground like artillery shells.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brought back memories from when we were living on a small island in the Pacific ocean. And we had a very similar experience but not as drastic. Love the way you described it . Am Looking forward to reading the next episode!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed reading this is stormy description; it made me think of my husband’s descriptions of South Dakota blizzards. The storm’s low pressure eye can be very deceptive – I remember the eye of hurricane Alishia in 1983 which gave us a few minutes to combat cabin fever and play outside in the puddles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was living in the Philippines but visiting Singapore to attend a conference when a typhoon hit Philippines where my wife had remained to care for duties at the University. It was the most terrifying experience of her life. Coconuts were being hurled two feet into the ground and water was coming into the house horizontally through every small crack around doors. She was convinced she’d not come through the experience alive. Fortunately the house was built to withstand such forces.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. While the story is obviously fiction the description of the farm is where I grew up in that rural environment and some of the families had been there for several generations. The topography was real and the cyclone real also, In fact we went through two cyclones. One on the rural property and one in the city where our house was flooded up to the roof so we moved to a safer location. Cyclones are scary.

      Liked by 1 person

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