But I was watching the cloud line. Not halfway to our destination, two points on the long sweep of cirrus had gone from a pair of near cumulonimbus anvil shape to suddenly drooping into a defined pair of funnels aimed horizon ward. Not in a threatening springtime way, but a light, wispy, and innocent surreal imitation of the Oklahoma spring standard.
As we got closer they became more discernable cirrus castellanus, wide and wind swept to paint stroke long and low, a brilliant metaphor for concern, dissipating. Just beneath the cloudbank, the sweep was gray and eastward aimed and we hit a cold wall, the temperature dipped a solid enough degree to be noticeable under multiple layers, my faced tinged numb and the two funnels danced and shifted for miles.
And sometimes, especially when its least expected, Oklahoma can be gorgeous. Up and around a curve bank sweeping and gentle, a low hill and the slight reel of highway, the tops of black silhouette trees, dusky dead grass and sky, and then, over the crest of the hill, I lost my breath. The valleys rolled low in typical plains style and went on forever taking my breath with them. The hills stretched parallel long low and chopped for the visible distance, black against the bright blue sky, silvery as their mirror silhouettes faded into the distance each one paler than the last from a long foreground sea of sandy golden winter pasture grass swum only by the occasional low cedar or wind cut black jack shadow.
When I caught my breath I realized the shadows don’t slant at near high noon anymore, if you know how to tell time that way. This long winter is ending.