We have had some great days already with Thomas and Iris here at the Ashram, relaxing a bit, working as well but simply enjoying being together with friends in this rather quiet time. I say quiet but the other day there was a rather major event: a big hail storm in our area and town!
The weather has been really untypical for this time of the year with rain falls again and again in the past weeks. That's how we were not very surprised when on Friday, the sunshine and blue sky suddenly seemed to disappear, replaced by rather dark clouds. Thunder started sounding in the distance and a strong wind was blowing, already ripping leaves off trees. A storm was coming, we could see that. But then, there was a strange noise!
It was like thunder at first but it didn't stop, drum roll, still in the distance. Confused, we looked at each other. What was that? Then, with the first tiny hailstones falling, we knew what it was: the sound of hail, but heavy hail, now already close-by!
In the moment after the realization, our driver ran to the car, which was until this point out in the open, in front of the building, jumped in and drove it, as fast as he dared on the wet floor, to the restaurant to get it under the roof.
Already when the car was half-way, the force of the hail increased and it was a matter of seconds until there were huge hailstones crashing down onto the earth, the path, the garden and everything in front of us!
It was mind-blowing! This display of the force of nature which we could witness there! Incredible and even a bit scary!
It seemed to go on for long, while it was probably not even a few minutes. When it subsided, a slow rain followed before that stopped, too, and the kids and of course our child-like staff members all enjoyed getting out, picking up the melting hailstones, throwing them at each other in joke, as if it was a snow-fight or collecting them in buckets. Of course we all took pictures with various phones and cameras of the size: some were bigger than tennis balls!
It was of course amazing for us but you can imagine all the damage that this storm brought to the area! The fields, where the wheat was already nearly destroyed by past rains took another blow. In the evening and the morning, standing at our gate, we saw hundreds of cars with broken windshields or smashed windows driving by, dents all over the car – of which we luckily only have four or five in ours!
The worst however is that 14 people died in the storm! Either directly hit by the hail or, more often, hit by something that the strong wind and hail had blown down.
The climate change is obvious now, more than ever – and we can feel the consequences!