Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sept. 24, 2020

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Everybody Has a Story: Lightning strikes during early walk


The noise of thunder woke me about 5:30 a.m. It was not raining, and I like to get my walk in early, so I slipped on my walking clothes, shoes and hat, picked up my walking sticks and headed out the door, hoping I could get a good walk in before the predicted rain started.

I live close to the west end of the Salmon Creek trail so I headed down to what I call Lakeshore Drive, although the county has changed that name to a number that I refuse to remember.

Before I left the house I checked the sky to the southwest, as I always do, and saw one of a pair of eagles fly over the water and land on a dead tree across the way, checking out the fishing today so it could, hopefully, take something big home to its nest at the other end of the trail, where there two nearly fledged babies waited.

While passing by the west end of the large beaver pond, so wonderfully created by a family of beavers back during the 1996 flood from wetlands that had previously dried up almost every summer, I turned to check out the waterfowl that are always present. I had just taken a few steps when there was a flash of lighting and a perfect reflection of it appeared on the surface water — or did the lightning actually hit the water? It was bright gold and jagged and I wished someone had been taking pictures, because I felt this was a once in a lifetime experience.

I had no time to ponder this when a heron standing in the usual morning fishing spot in the water let out the raucous, angry squawk that only herons can make when their meditation is rudely interrupted. It flew into the air followed closely by the eagle, which let out the notorious and frightening guttural sound eagles make when diving from above to capture their meal. This time, however, the eagle was following the heron into the air.

On my other side, in the road, was a crow who had been feasting on the innards of roadkill, a small rabbit out on one of its first ventures from its birthplace. The crow’s caw was loud, although not nearly as loud as the heron or the eagle, and it took off with a good-sized morsel in its beak, probably to take to its nest nearby to share with its babies or maybe simply because it was so startled by noise from the other birds.

Although I had walked only a short distance I decided that I’d had enough morning adventure and needed to return home and think about all this. I also wondered if my metal walking sticks might be serving as a lightning rod even though they are covered with cork and rubber, top and bottom. The noisy thunderstorm surrounded me as I walked up the hill and down to my house again.

As I approached my front deck, I felt the oversized raindrops, which could only be the type of rain coming from a noisy and exciting thunderstorm, hitting my head and body. I continued to listen to booms of thunder, watch flashes of lightning, smell and even taste the heavy ozone in the air.

My senses were quite satisfied.

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