The chance of a thunder and lightning storm is passing away and I’m so glad. I really dislike it when it lightning and thunders. I used to love it but then I got struck by lightning and it wasn’t so fun anymore. I still love storms and especially windy ones but when it starts to get the yellowy steel colour of a thunderhead, I head inside.
Being struck by lightning is no fun and I was being stupid and (in my mind) heroic when it happened. Now I might not do what I did then but I did and I learned a valuable lesson. I was working at my first Girl Scout camp up in Big Bear and it started to lightning and thunder and the booms were happening at the same time as the strikes and we could see it all around. Not so much fun if you live in a California forest where wildfires are started by lightning and really not fun in a camp full of small children.
We had an open area where we did flag ceremony every day that was right above a draw with no trees and one of our less intellectually endowed counselors took her kids to play in the rain right where the lightning was striking. Lightning hits the tallest thing in an area, in an area with no trees that happens to be human beings and that part of camp was all open. So me being the rescue ranger that I tend to be ran out to the wrought iron flagpole and yelled at Fern to bring her kids back to the Dining Hall and I quickly became the object lesson why. Lightning hit the flagpole I was leaning on.
I was told I jumped about 10 feet by the staff watching from the staff house. I did not jump. I was thrown that far. It is not a pleasant or unpleasant feeling to be struck by lightning. It is a weird feeling. If you ever dragged your feet on the side walk while some one is pulling the wagon you are sitting in, it’s close. It’s a weird, warm buzzing sensation like every nerve in your body and especially the skin was just set on vibrate and a text and a phone call came in at the same time. Every hair on your body stands up and salutes. And all of a sudden putting two thoughts together coherently becomes optional.
My camp director was furious at me not because I had gone out there but because I had scared the children. I was just lost in the land of the bewildered. I remember that she didn’t make sense to me and went on with my job. But it took about 2 weeks for me to be able to put words together without thinking out the correct order. And the funny thing about it was a lot of people never noticed there was anything wrong. I spoonerized for years afterwards and I hadn’t really done that before but when jelly beans become belly jeans and picks and shovels become shicks and povels things aren’t quite right.
I can blow a weak electrical circuit or a light bulb. I have also lit blown out bulbs on occasion. I can put a whole street full of lights and don’t need Dumbledore’s Deluminator. And I can’t keep a cell phone charger working until I found one with a gold connection. Before that in the phone I have now and I got less than a year ago I’ve had 4 chargers that lasted about a month and a half if I was lucky. I also get what I call brain flushes and I’ve never seen another description of it but it is a very nasty physical feeling. It feels as if my brain were a toilet and somebody flushed it. It’s mildly disorienting and lasts all of a second and is gone. There is no outward effect and I don’t get them very often anymore and the one time I asked a neurologist that I was seeing for migraines I dropped it after he looked at me as if I was fruit loops.
I was terrified of lightning for a long time and it wasn’t helped by unloading a bus at the same camp in another storm. We were loading the luggage from the bus into a platform tent that was close by and lightning struck the tree above other counselor and I and I have to admit we looked like something out of a cartoon because we leapt into each other’s arms from across the tent and landed onto the floor sitting and shaking and then laughing.
For years I did everything to stay out of a storm and then I was on vacation with my partner at the time, driving around the Southwest and we decided to camp at the Navajo Nation campground in Monument Valley. Monument Valley is an amazing and beautiful place without a storm but one moved in that night and some French tourists and Annie and I were the only ones there.
Sometime after we had gone to bed in the back of her camper shell on the pickup the storm started. Lightning started hitting the buttes around us and I started shaking. Annie reminded me that we were safe as long as we stayed inside on the rubber wheels of the truck and I might as well look out the window at the beauty of it. And I did. And it was a beautiful sight and I finally started to relax in it and enjoy it. The storm moved on and the next morning so did we.
We went to a Navajo potter shop the next morning and there was a pot there of Monument Valley in a lightning storm and we bought it. I still have it as a symbol of that night. I admit she was right and I don’t collapse in total terror or have the urge to hide under the bed anymore but I’m still not a big fan of lightning and thunder and when it gets too close you won’t find me dancing in the rain. I respect the power of the storm.