“Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me” – Gallileo
Massive thunderstorm last night. The sky was alight with shock. The rumbling shook our house. It was awesome. We were wrapped in blankets, watching a film as the rain beat down outside. Ideal circumstances for nature to throw a tantrum. Every now and again we’d count the beats between light and sound. Noticing a flash, we’d take stock of how long it took for the crack of thunder to kick in. It was far away, but still overwhelmingly vicious. Removed as we were from the effects, it was still quite the marvel.
I so desperately want the experience of living through awe inspiring weather conditions. I’m not asking for a plague of biblical proportions. I don’t want anyone to be hurt, or people to be displaced because of my fanciful whims. I just want to know how it feels to witness nature at its most majestic and terrifying. I’m thinking something like seeing a tornado rush by within direct and actionable line of sight, but to surface unharmed. I want to know what it is to have lightning crackle and light up the ground within my proximity. To come so close to death, but emerge unscathed. Yeah, this is bucket list stuff, and I’m sure once it was over I’d question why I ever sought it in the first place.
The closest I’ve ever been to extreme weather was during an American road trip. A group of friends and I had rented an RV. We were driving from place to place, staying for a night or two, then moving on. Lots of highways. A large portion of our funds were going to gas. The driving itself was mostly non-eventful. We had this system going whereby someone would drive, whoever was in shotgun would navigate and do music. Everyone else got to relax in the back. At the time I was navigating, but ostensibly just trying to find apt tunes. Like I said, it was a highway. Should’ve chucked on some Cochrane. It started getting a little bit windy, which wasn’t hugely noticable. Wind happened, and our RV was stacked tall like a double-decker. It didn’t seem worth any worry.
The wind picked up and suddenly it was noticable. Our friends in the back chimed in, saying that this seemed abnormal. In the front, our centre of gravity was probably more aligned with having a horizontal view of the road. Things seemed slightly strange, but not altogether untoward. The wind kicked up another notch. Our vision of the road ahead became limited. It felt like anything could happen. Suddenly even in the front we felt alarmed. I don’t know how often you’ve driven and felt like your vehicle was in danger of tipping, but it’s even more concerning when you’re driving a small bus. It felt like the entire thing was lurching to the side. We were unsure how well we were sticking to the road. People in the back were actively and vocally alarmed. My friend was handling as best he could, but even he felt unsafe. We all agreed to pull off at the next exit and take a break.
Winds had picked up to a full scale maelstrom as we approached the exit, and we took it with the utmost caution. Nobody seemed to be behind us, and we slowly drove around the turn off and took refuge at a nearby Wendys. I had a frosty dairy dessert, I did the chip dip thing. It was great. After an hour the weather had settled down. We felt less spooked and more capable of jumping back on the highway without fear. We took the onramp and hit the road. No more than a few minutes had passed, than we found ourselves slowing down. There had been an accident, and it was taking time to move past it. Of course we rubbernecked, and saw a 12 car pile up at the next exit. Chances are, if we’d kept driving we would’ve been part of it. We were all a little shaky, and absurdly thankful to settle into the RV park that night.
Lighning though, lightning would be hella cool. Even if Gallileo’s a bit of a wuss.