I’m overly cautious where storms are concerned. Always have been. As in, first sign of severe weather, I take to the basement, bringing with me all my valuables: Laptop, baby blanket, poetry book from grandpa, old journals. And of course, whenever other living creatures are around, I do everything I can to get them to shelter as well.
A few years ago, for example, we were under a tornado warning. My mother, who maddeningly doesn’t always sense the urgency such a warning brings, thought the dogs could just stay upstairs. Ruby, our younger dog, who was still a puppy at the time, was terrified of the basement, and mom told me to leave her up there. It wasn’t worth the trouble, and anyway, she might let loose on the carpet. “Are you crazy?” I screamed, “I’m not letting the damn dog die just because you won’t bring her downstairs!”
Not one of my finer moments, and actually the first time (of few) I swore in front of my mom.
Anyway, my adrenaline fueled by the whipping wind outside and my own terror, I somehow managed to carry fifty pounds of struggling German Shepherd down the stairs.
Nowadays, being twenty-one, in college, and endowed with the slight recklessness that goes with the aforementioned, I have lost most of my fear of storms, at least temporarily.
So when a cookout at a riverside park coincided with approaching severe weather, I squared my shoulders and said we should proceed regardless. Enter six people, none with grilling experience. Enter eight skewers of shish kabobs that cooked slowly while lightning flashed in the distance and the sky slowly faded from dark blue to dingy green. It was like a horror movie; there were several points when audience members surely would have screamed at us to go back. Swallows were flying around madly, for instance, and various items kept blowing away from our picnic (a container of strawberries, a plate of raw meat juice, a box of tinfoil, etc.). Cloud roiled and morphed into goblins and dragons. The few RVs that were parked in campsites seemed abandoned, their blinds fanned tautly over dark windows. A man drove by in a pickup truck, drinking what looked suspiciously like a can of beer, and leering at us from beneath a faded cap.
I have to give us credit; we stayed until the rain started pouring and the wind started whipping, and would have stayed longer had our dinner not been in jeopardy. The kabobs were finished in the oven at John’s* house, and were delicious, if a tad soggy.
During the storm (hard to see, but it was raining as hard as I’ve ever seen it rain. We were soaked):
And afterwards, taken as I tromped home through the puddles:
*In case you haven’t suspected before now, and just for posterity regardless, know that I always change names in my posts. I generally don’t ask permission before I post descriptions of situations that involve other people, so keeping them anonymous seems the least I can do.