2006/04/21

After the Storm

Thunder storms rolled across Kashima City Friday bringing darkness with lightning, thunder and rain alternating with clear skies and sunshine. I got tired of taking the laundry in and out of the house and gave it up. At times the house was dark - like after sunset dark - and the lighting flashes lit up the rooms. I turned off the computer and other electronics at those times. I was hoping for the weather to clear so I could ride down to a temple about which I am going to write a post, but every time it looked like it was getting better, another black cloud would announce itself with the a rumble of thunder.

Finally, in mid-afternoon, it was over. The sun came out to dry the streets, I gave Momo her walk, then was off on the bicycle. After my visit to the temple, which you can read about tomorrow, I headed to Lake Kitaura. I never got there, even though it was only a few hundred meters away. The rice paddies next to the lake were so beautiful I spent my time riding along the small roads that lace them together stopping here and there for a picture. The fields are flooded at this time as the planting of rice has begun and the mirror smooth surfaces reflect the surrounding bluffs and sky.

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The rains cleaned the dust off of everything and cleansed the air as well, making for excellent visibilty. At the same time, there were still cumulus clouds to catch the sun in their edges and cast shadows on the landscape.

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As I headed up the hill to home, I turned out at a workyard overlooking a valley of rice fields. It is just a leveled spot where heavy equipment is sometimes parked and small piles of gravel or soil are stored. In the valley below I could see someone walking a dog.

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I could also see the mountain range at Tsukuba City clearly, some 31 kilometers (19 miles) distant. Due to the hill, I could not quite see Mt. Tsukuba itself, which rises 876 meters from the flat Kanto plain. It is shaped like Mt. Fuji, but with a cleft at the top.
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I noticed a dirt road leading up and along a finger of the bluff and decided to follow it. It led to a cultivated field and on through a small grove of sugi (Japanese cedars) to a large clearing that looked like it was being prepared as a building site. Around two sides of the clearing were thin stands of sugi marking cliffs. I parked the bike and walked toward the edge of the bluff.

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Through the trees I looked down upon the rice fields, route 51, Lake Kitaura, the bridge which crosses it and Mt. Tsukuba.

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After taking several pictures from different vantage points I headed home once more.

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A large cumulus cloud was misting "virga". Virga is a light rain which evaporates before hitting the ground. It looks like wisps of white hair or a veil as it is blown by the wind. When this happens at altitude, novice pilots are sometimes tempted by the thought of a free "plane wash" to fly into it. They do get the plane wet, but also find themselves in a severe downdraft.

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My last picture is of a hawk that was soaring with the clouds over the rice paddies. You may need to click on the picture to get the larger version in order to spot the hawk.

7 comments:

YD said...

The photos of the reflections are marvellous! That stillness, that tranquility. It felt as though the human world has stop moving, to listen to the sound of the nature.

Hehe, the rice field looks similar to those in malaysia... (or is it for other use?)

Found the hawk! (geez this days I am starting to look for small hidden items in pictures after happy's 9 people!) ^_^

The Moody Minstrel said...

The beauty of those pictures almost made me forget the fact that the thunderstorms screwed up my ADSL modem (internet works, phone doesn't), which means I'll probably have to replace it...at a hefty cost.

Almost made me forget.

Pandabonium said...

YD - the scenery was awe inspiring to be sure. All the flooded fields are for rice around here. On the other side of the lake there are some lotus farms, which also flood their paddies.

MM - that's what I was afraid of. What a bummer. Though if I had to lose one or the other, I'd rather it be the phone side. Of course there is no option but to replace it. Ouch.

cprqhkqc - EMT lingo for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation Q-sign heart potassium quality control.

Happysurfer said...

I love bicycle rides. They can take you places to take in the beauty of nature. These are nice pictures, Pandabonium. I especially like the one with the view of Mt Tsukuba through the trees. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing them. Much appreciated.

YD, you have sharpened your observation power and that's a good thing. Want some more such exercises?

Yeah MM, ouch!

Pandabonium said...

Thanks Happysurfer. Sure, I'm ready for another challenge.

Robin said...

Wonderful sight.. glad you took time to 'smell the flowers' in the journey of life.

Thanks for all the pics.. hmm.. got hawk meh? let me look again.

Pandabonium said...

Robin, the hawk is easy to spot in the larger version of the pic. Adjust your eyewear. ;)

Getting out on foot or on bicycle makes it easier to notice my surroundings. Everyone says to take time to smell the roses, but how many do so? I know you do.