The sound of pattering rain, rustling grass, and drumming of thunder was the music to the whole ensemble. This is why we travel, for moments like these.

The Greatest Show On Earth

Written By Louisa Mow in Memphis, TN
It was a very long drive from Roanoke to Memphis, but we were determined - so determined, that we decided to disregard the weather predictions being broadcast on the radio. It was a fine day and the sun was hot in Virginia and so it was all the way to Knoxville. A thunderstorm hit when we were just outside Nashville, but nothing too concerning. So onwards we went to Memphis. Thinking how nice a cold beer and some blues on Beale Street would be when we arrive.
As early evening settled in, dark black and green clouds started to form to the south and were slowly amassing around us. It was at this moment, that something very strange and beautiful happened that I will never forget. To the north-west was a deep red sunset. Great plumes of orange clouds smashed into the storm and they hung low above golden wheat fields, and small black ponds reflected the light from all sides. Every tree and blade of wheat glowed in a sunlit halo. Forked lightning streaked across the sky and thousands of fireflies glittered in the brushes and weaved around the fields. I remember thinking,that we were witnessing nature's most astonishing displays of light. To add to the beauty and delight of it all, the car was filled with the perfume of ozone and warm summer rain on hot asphalt. The sound of pattering rain, rustling grass, and drumming of thunder was the music to the whole ensemble. This is why we travel, for moments like these.
 
The storms stayed to the left of us, but then the road turned suddenly and abruptly south. All at once the song on the radio cut and instead a robotic announcement with sirens began,

“warning, warning, thunderstorms, possible tornadoes, hail and flash flooding issued for this area. Please head for higher ground and protect your life.”

It was issued once a minute until the radio cut out completely. But it was too late, there was nowhere to go, we were in the thick of it. My phone was flashing red and buzzing nonstop from all the different weather warnings. Siren, after siren, after siren.

Hail came down in torrents and chipped the windscreen, we struggled not to aquaplane and we were constantly worried that a tornado would hit.When we finally made it to Memphis, the rain was still pummeling down in torrents and lightning kept streaking across the black sky.

During our adventure across the states, it became a bad habit to miss our exits coming off the highway- every time we tried to head downtown. So it was not shocking that we missed the downtown exit when we were in Memphis, so we ended driving through the ghettos, again.

Once on Beale Street, drinking that first beer was sweet, sweet heaven. Starving we filled our bellies with delicious catfish po’boys and traditional vinegar based Tennessee BBQ. The bar was a live-music venue and the nights entertainment were dueling piano's, playing a bit of bluegrass and honky-tonk.


At midnight, when the rain and the storm had disappeared, we found a high rise car park downtown and drove to the top. Hoping we wouldn’t be bothered, we camped there for the night in our car. But not before piling on to the top of the car and looking out over the astoundingly beautiful neon city.