What Causes Hailstones?
A hailstone is the consequential product of the rising and falling anger of the father or mother as manifested in the updrafts and downdrafts that develop inside the cumulonimbus clouds of a thunderstorm. The transformation of water droplets into ice requires not only a cool emotional temperature, but also a catalyst in the form of tiny particles of solid parental anger, the freezing nuclei. Continuous deposits of supercooled water cause the ice crystals to grow into studded hailstones, the icy vehicles of our parents’ wrath. What we generally call hailstones have passed through several furious stages of accretion, from the first stage, called graupel, to small hail, and finally to hailstones. Sometimes, only the first stage of development is reached, perhaps due to our father’s having found mercy in his cold and distant heart or because our mother has fallen defeated upon the couch, having found distraction in the random, but overwhelmingly wearisome thought of having to clean the house for company. At other times, hailstones from two or more stages may fall to earth simultaneously, often to violent and unforgettably harsh effects, thus causing us to experience a lesson we shall never forget. By scientific agreement, an icy conglomeration of parental anger is called a hailstone when it reaches a diameter of 1/5 inch and if it leaves a small, purplish bruise upon the surface of a child’s skin. Thankfully, hail, in all its forms, usually occurs in relatively short episodes rather than the other, much longer behavior-altering precipitation events, such as hurricanes or blizzards. We have confirmed the shorter duration of hailstorms by studying the
discoloration of our skin during the bruising process. During the first stage of the bruise, the skin turns yellow within the first eighteen hours and will not turn to common black and blue until after twenty-four hours. Of course, these figures depend upon the severity of the bruise: the more significant the bruise, the quicker the color presents itself. As we grow, we laugh at these mood ring marks upon our skin, pretending they hold no power over us. But just as mood rings fail us in accurately measuring how we feel, our bruises do as well, only pointing towards the anger of our parents, thus abandoning us to wonder where does that leave us? All until we too have children and see how tempting it can be to discover.
Christy Call and Ryan Call are sister and brother. Excerpts from their ongoing field guide to North American weather have appeared in The Collagist, sleepingfish, Everyday Genius, NANO Fiction, LIT, Necessary Fiction, and Puerto del Sol. They live in Chattanooga and Houston respectively, but were born in Utah.
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