Monday, September 07, 2009

Rolling Thunder in The Ukraine

Rolling Thunder in The Ukraine

I had forgotten I wrote this. It was printed in the New Haven Register in April, 1986

The thunder rolls; the rain falls. The radioactive cloud is up there somewhere -- I wonder if it has reached this far yet? Is each sparkling raindrop tainted with invisible poison? The water of life that falls from the sky; that flows in little rivulets in the backyard. that splashes in driveway puddles and rings against the metal of the car. The rain that nourishes the lawn and the shade trees; that splatters about the roof and walls of the house.

The thunder rolls; my dog whines to go out before it gets real bad. Not this time, dog. This time we wait until it is all over -- and the sun has dried the ground.

Of course, they tell us not to worry, there is only a little radiation left in that swiftly dispersing plume from Chernobyl. But I wonder: will this become commonplace by the time my hair is gray? Will there be another plume in time for Halloween? And one for Christmas too?

The thunder rolls; but the worst is yet to come. We all knew the dangers. We all knew the horror. We all knew it could happen. We all know it can be worse.

We are told the odds are in our favor; but then, we all know Murphy's Law. Even the luckiest gambler rolls snake-eyes once in a while.

On 26 April 1986 01:23:45 a.m. (UTC+3) reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, exploded. Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

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