On the way to La Grande last week, I first met the huge smoke plume from the prescribed burn on the Minam. I was astonished that this was scheduled in such dry conditions. When I later read the report on inciweb.com, it looked like the Forest Service had intended it to be raining, but that was not the case that day. It looked even more intense as I topped out on Cricket Flat and looked back.
However, toward the La Grande direction, in the distance was a large storm cloud dropping rain. I hoped it would head toward the Minam.
Once through Imbler, I saw other dark clouds rising from the ground and swirling, which puzzled me. They were on opposite sides of the road and I wondered if they were double tornadoes. But as I drew closer, I saw they were dust storms generated by the storm cloud sucking the soil up into the air. The soil was loose from the recent mint harvest.
It was an eerie sight.
A storm cloud sucking dirt into the air and drenching it with rain... Would that be called a "mud storm"? The wind is blowing the mixture about 40 mph across the road in front of me.
Then I looked back toward Imbler, and above the mountains and through the storm I could see the Minam smoke clouds. With the rays of the setting sun upon them, they looked ablaze themselves...
I turned once more, and of all things, there was a full rainbow! The left side was a bit faded, but the right side could not be missed.
Quite frankly, I felt afraid at the spectacle of all of this power of elements- fire, storm, wind, rain. But when I saw the symbol of God's promise, I was reassured and continued my trip.
And on the way home later that night, I followed the wet highway all the way through the Minam to home.
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.