Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lightning Strikes on Stormy Peaks

A flash of white light. Brighter than anything I have ever seen. I launched into the air to crash under a boulder. 12,000 feet high on a mountain in Pingree Park and we were caught in a terror defining storm. It felt like less than a second and I whipped around shocked to see lightning strike right in front of us, My mom was on the ground. My brother scooped her up like a baby and ran into the trees. I started to run towards them as I heard my Uncle yell for me to get in the trees and strip down any metal we had on. Earrings, watch, jacket…chucked. Remind me to never wear metal on a hike again.
We bunkered between trees, thunder rolling. The fear of lightning striking again was running wild in all of our minds. Our feet solid on the ground, knees bent and head down. Surrounded by tall trees and ones that had already been hit I clasped my hands and prayed to God. We were all separated 50 feet apart so if one person got hit, we wouldn’t all. Knowing anything could happen I searched through the trees to take a good look at everybody. I turned to my mom and saw she was gripping a silver necklace that I have never seen her without; it was given to her from her mom. She was praying too.
I looked back down and couldn’t tell the difference between my fearsome tears and the roaring rain and hail. Shaking in the cold I finally calmed down. Realizing there was nothing we could do. We were in the safest spot, which there is still no guarantee. But the thunder became quieter and eased our fears. On my Uncle’s cue we headed back down the trail across slippery rocks and a rain fogged view.
It was a quiet hike down. I know we were all still stunned. Once we rounded the corner and saw the car we started to get happy feet, smiles and passing out high-five’s. There was even laughter stemming from relief. The best part of the day was hearing my Uncle say, “It’s a character builder.” And I think character is what makes someone stand out and offer something to everyone they meet. So if I ever feel my character needs to be built up, I’m heading into the storm again 12,000 feet up on Stormy Peaks.

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