The Author

Dust Storms

The headline said, “1000 Feet High, 200 Miles Wide.” Someone knows how to grab my attention, so I read. It was the brief report of the dust storm this past week that blew in from New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. When the measurements were recorded in Lubbock, the winds were blowing 75 miles an hour and the dust wall was 1000 feet high and 200 miles wide. When asked, one resident commented, “Just another Spring day in West Texas.”

It reminded me of a time in seminary when the sky turned brown west of Fort Worth. I was living in an old two story house on campus with eight other students. Most of them were from places other than Texas. One of them, a farm boy from South Carolina, was particularly fascinated and frightened by the ominous sky.

He began to grill me about what was happening. When I told him that it was a dust storm, he asked me what I meant. I said, “Well, in about thirty minutes, a good bit of New Mexico is going to blow right over the top of us.”
“Is it going to ruin the paint job on my car?”
“It might.”
“Should we shut all the windows in the house?”
“We can.”
“Will it do any good?”

Sure enough, in about thirty minutes, he began to believe me. The sky grew dark and the air smelled like dirt. Everything in the house and his car turned a faint tan, covered with the grit of the fine particles of dirt and sand. Thirty minutes later, the cold front that had been ushered in by the dust brought with it enough rain to turn all that grit to mud. He said, “What in the world just happened?” I said, “Just another Spring day in Texas.” He said, “I thought the world was coming to an end.”

Funny how life works, isn’t it? When something that we’ve never seen before threatens us, we’re not sure how to handle it. We scramble for a solution. We get our exercise jumping on the panic button. But when we’ve been down that road before, we learn to wait, to watch, to weather the storm. To be sure, one of these days, the world will end. Until then, it’s just another Spring day in Texas.