The sun goes down on a beautiful Alabama day, clumps of grey clouds almost like fluffy rays across the sky. Through the trees, I can see the pink in the sky, and the lake to my right. Birds are chirping in the tree directly in front, but I don't know who they are.
I have set up my tent again, this time considerably more quickly than the last time. I haven't used the site itself, because the site is covered with gravel and I would not be able to sink my stakes in. Besides, I'm unlikely to enjoy sleeping on gravel. So it is on the grassy verge just next to the gravel, but that turns out to be extremely loose, sandy soil. The stakes go in easily, but I'm not sure they're holding easily. And after setting it up, I've pulled the picnic table over to the thoughtfully provided electrical socket, pulled out my laptop, plugged it in for it to recharge, and I'm typing stuff. My diary, an article, this thing whatever it will turn out to be. No wireless here, no cell signal either, but I'll keep this to dispatch later.
It has been a warm day, but now it is cooling more rapidly than it is getting dark. I hear it will be something like 4 or 5 degrees Celsius tonight, and it certainly feels like it's getting down there. Not quite as cold as it was that last time I camped, but cold anyway.
All through the day, I've had warnings about avoiding Alabama. Tornadoes hit this state yesterday, one smashing into a school in the town of Enterprise -- no more than 10 or 15 miles from where I sit -- and killing 8 kids. Twenty people dead via those freaks of nature, through Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. (An unrelated add-on tragedy is that a bus carrying a college baseball team plunged off a bridge onto a highway in Atlanta and several of those young athletes died as well).
I tried to find a place to stay in Enterprise, but everything was full. I thought of just taking a chance and going there, but now Prez Bush is coming tomorrow to these parts to spend time with those hit by the tornadoes. So there's certainly no chance I will get a place to stay.
(Aside: This trip has been a curious sequence of dodging Prez Bush. Driving by Chattanooga a few days ago, the radio stations were all full of Bush's visit to the city that day. Yesterday he came to New Orleans where I was, and also visited the Mississippi gulf towns I drove through today. Tomorrow he is coming to these same parts again).
So I sit here in this darkening silence and I am just thinking continuously about death out of the blue. Of how it has rained down in so many ways over the last five or six years. Planes to waves to humans to hurricanes to tornadoes.
Think I need some cheering up.