Southwest Florida News Online: The Storm


Watercolor Florida Keys Kapers by Bob Kranich

The Storm, (Excerpt 51)

This is a new short story titled The Storm. It’s art literature about a dramatic storm in the Keys that suddenly arrives and then subsides.


The semi-tropical island lay like a precious jewel at the end of a long pearl necklace. It floated between two great bodies of water, the glittering Gulf of Mexico to the north and the mighty Atlantic to the south.

In the natural harbor on the open western side of this island of the sun, a female dolphin and her two young swim, dive and frolic in the morning mist. It was quiet and dark, only a hint of light to the east.

Suddenly, the female let out a high-pitched sound. His two descendants immediately gave him their full attention. She turned around and headed for the Atlantic. The siblings followed their parent. All three were moving fast, diving and then rolling up to breathe.

As this family disappeared towards the dark ocean, suddenly the sun on the distant horizon burst into a ray of light. It was bright yellow at first. Then it moved up and into a very low, ominous dark hanging mass. This collection of clouds suddenly burned bright orange-red.

At this particular time, seagulls, sandpipers, terns and pelicans could be seen flying from the Atlantic side over this gem to the other side of the island. They then landed on the distant beach among pines, exquisite coconut palms and tall majestic palms.

The barometer was dropping, the humidity was rising, and the atmospheric pressure was changing. On the Atlantic beach, breakers were beginning to build and pound the waves and the shore. Sand crabs were leaving their holes as the water slowly gained ground and moved up the beach towards the dunes. Many of these sand crabs moved inland and made their way as best they could to the higher dunes or, for that matter, to the waters of the gulf on the undersea side of the island.

In one of the quiet streets of the city, on the ground floor, a bustling colony of ants was moving its stores, eggs and limbs to a higher place. They were moving in a straight line from a crack in the sidewalk to a brick wall. This walking line could be seen to be straight along the top of the wall and into a brick structure attached to it.

A cat, and right behind it, a city street dog, ran past. The two animals scattered the ant’s organized line of march. These two creatures, alerted by a change in atmospheric pressure, knew that drastic climate change was brewing. They were looking for a safe and secure refuge. Some say that animals can sense vibrations and smell ozone from a distant flash.

It became very quiet. Then it started, slightly at first, little short puffs of breeze. Then stronger gusts, turning into a strong wind. Plap!… Plap!… Plap! Plap! Plap! Raindrops hit the wall, the sidewalk and the dry, sandy dust. At first, the large drops slamming into the powdery earth formed what appeared to be small pockets of smoke. Shortly after, the heavy downpour saturated everything. The wind was now blowing violently, the rain tearing the land in torrential waves.

The coconut trees moved frantically back and forth. Then, one by one, the dried leaves were torn from their grip on the tree trunk and swirled in the wind. The streets were quickly filling with puddles that connected to each other. As the water fed into the drainage, it rose, forming small lakes.

Unexpectedly, there was a Clang!…Clang!…Clang! Noise! Noise! as perfect round scoops of ice cream fell from the sky. It seemed like the wind had momentarily stopped just for this performance. The hail came as a sampling at first, but then a barrage of ice balls brought it all down. As quickly as it started… it stopped. The last ones, not to be missed, fell one by one. This was followed by increased gusts of wind bringing fierce driving rain.

Inland, a thirty-foot dwarf palm bent and swayed as all of its precariously clinging green frons were bent and pushed to its farthest side. It was losing its dried leaves like the coconut palms.

Loud crackles of thunder were followed by lightning bolts of electricity zigzagging across the sky. One of them actually landed by finding a dirt road through a majestic oak tree. This left a burnt scar at the base of the tree and a lingering smell of burnt wood in the air.

Almost as quick and surprising as it had started, the wind died down and the rain turned to a fine drizzle. Then the two gave up. The sun, now high in the sky, found an opening in the clouds, and sent its golden rays to illuminate the whole scene.

Somewhere in a distant pine tree, a seemingly happy and happy mockingbird breaks the silence with a joyous song to celebrate and welcome the new day.

Of the author :

My second complete book, Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers is 336 pages. There are 12 stories ranging from 6 pages to 72 pages. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I did while roaming around Key West after completing my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See Don Browne’s book or Southwest Florida online news recordings, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories, you’ll learn about Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories cover the period from the early 1800s to 1969.

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