Stories come from the strangest of combination of places, events and people. They hit me over the head sometimes as I'm walking - often times quite actually because my head is usual off pondering in the clouds. This is a wild circle of thought that occurred to me this week:
It is early spring and they've begun testing the tornado sirens in our city, as they do most places with a tornado warning system. The siren blares out in thick waves of sound - not merely loud but inescapable. This is sound you can feel rattling the pavement beneath your feet, shaking your ribcage, startling the air, stopping your heart. You are breathing in that sound. Unlike the eardrum-cracking call of ambulances and police cruisers, it does not fade away as trouble races down the center lane. Growing up in Nebraska, this is typical of the spring and summer months - the worry that sudden disaster may be hurtling nearby.
by Anthony Woods
Sirens and Whales
When I was a little girl standing my grandparents' driveway I remember asking my mother what that horrible drone was. She said it was a whale, perhaps out of sarcasm. (She might have actually said "dying whale" but I doubt she would have been that mean.) I was a gullible imaginative child and wanted to see this whale, marvelling at the idea there was an actual whale somewhere in our landlocked state. As we drove home, I had a vivid picture in my head of a whale lying out on the plains somewhere... not exactly making the connection that if, by some strange set of events, a whale was lying out in the middle of Nebraska, it would be a very sad story.
Whale Fluke 6 October 2012, Gloucester, Mass.
Whales in Nebraska
The closest whales have come to Nebraska was the in the Cretaceous Period when a great north-south swath of the continent was a shallow sea called the Western Interior Seaway, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic. The "whales" were plesiosaurs (probably smaller than modern whales) - head of a brontosaurus and sea turtle flippers.
By Dee Jay Morris
A Sea in Nebraska
by Petter Sandell