I experienced my first and most dramatic storm yet. There was wind and there was rain and there was lightening and thunder. I mean the sort of thunder that shakes you to your core, that moves your bones, that reminds you just how vulnerable and small we really are.
I left a beautiful and isolated camp spot in South Dakota in search of a safer setting. The forecasts I follow all warned of severe and intense weather on the horizon. This spot was no place for little’old me and my too tall tent!
I chose my destination based on a lake and the assumption of cover. I did some research, as I often do, on the Internet. I could see photos and read about some of the campgrounds. I chose a more developed site, as I wanted to stay a few days and I wanted some amenities. Oh, and trees for cover.
I felt safe, hidden from the brunt of the wind, and comforted by the rangers who drove by throughout the day. I had pavement to bike on, trails to hike, unlimited showers, plumbing and running water when I wanted it. Plus the lake! It was good. Well, good until the storms came.
I had seen them coming all day. Took their time, they did. I stayed at camp, not wanting to leave myself open to disaster. The first round was high winds, minimized by my location, and rain. Chose well in that regard. Then came the thunder and lightening. I mean, it came!
I obsessively followed the weather on my phone while staying hunkered down in the tent. Lightening less than a mile from my location, it said. Take cover, it said. Ya think?? I said. I know! I said back. Where would I go, anyway?
There was a break. I went to the potty and looked around. Nope, no flooding from the lake. Leaves down all over, no branches or trees. Thunder starting up again, better get back to the tent. The storms went on during the night. Well, I assume so, as I slept at some point.
Yes, I was dry. No, I was not hit by lightening. I had planned ahead and my camp site was prepared. I brought in food and packed away most other things. Leaves were everywhere. My and my belongings were safe and sound.
I did get out the following day. More rain in the forecast, but storms seemed to pass by. Clouds were low and threatening, but nothing really materialized. I could see dark clouds in the distance and the rain made a delightful rainbow pattern on the horizon. But, I was safe.
I survived. My gear survived. I was scared, but I did it. Thankfully, there was no hail or tornado or flooding at my location. Thankfully I was at a developed site and had the security of people. Thankfully all is well.
I try to read ahead to my next location, checking at least four weather forecasts. I can only do what I can do. I can only plan as far and as much as the Universe will let me. I feel grateful and fortunate. I feel small and vulnerable. The point is that I feel.
Cheers to our world and cheers to our ancestors who survived with far less than me. Cheers to staying dry in the deluge and staying safe in the storm.