Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Storm

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I sat at the dining room table checking my email. The digital clock on the microwave read 11:56 P.M.

Outside the window the bushes ignited as if a gigantic flashbulb had gone off.

I rose from my space and ventured to the front door.

Another flash.

Rain came in laconic bursts.

I grabbed my iPod and moved to the front porch to watch the storm brewing in the skies above, and then realized that the brunt of it was over Lake Pend Oreille.

I snagged my camera and headed down to the water’s edge as the skies above me swirled about angerly; lightning forked and splayed, cracking the heavens in two with chasms of refulgent light.


I watched the curlicues of electricity—each one even more impressive than the last—at intervals of about a minute. However, for each image I captured, dozens far more spectacular were missed because my camera was pointed in the wrong direction.


However—the storm was raging all about me.


The lake, once gently rolling, suddenly came to life as the wind roared in my ears, ripping my headphones from place; the water was now uneven and wild as the knobby clouds raced across the vindictive sky.

Then came the rain.

Buckets of water sloshed from the heavens as I made my way to the car, shielding my camera with my body. In the protected interior of my vehicle, the windshield wipers pushed away the deluge as I drove north, the direction the storm which careened on turbulent winds.

Lightning raked through the sky above me; the flashes lighting up valleys I drove past as brightly as if it were daylight. Through the rain, the skies above me looked like a network of burnished spider webs in a clouded bottle.

The road before and behind me was empty.

The lake to my right began to slacken its waves, like the aftermath of the flood when Noah had warned the people to repent; the hills around me were carpeted with majestic pines and aspens.

I pulled my car over and switched off the headlights.

It was instantly dark.

I fumbled with my umbrella and tripod, determined to capture a few more images of this magnificent storm—but the tempest was quickly retreating over heavily wooded hills whose towering pines would assuredly block my view.

I waited.


Only the pattering of rain on the umbrella and the occasional hint of lightning now…the storm was withdrawing far too quickly over fens and moors; over countryside which was far too difficult to traverse without established paths.

I was too late.

From somewhere up the road a large, shadowy figure crossed on the fringe of my night-vision. It was probably only a deer.

Images of Bigfoot flashed through my mind, this was—after all—the Great Northwest.

Instantly, every horror movie I’d every seen returned to memory…

It would be waiting in the bushes. It would wait for the lone man to stand there for another minute or two before going in for the kill…

I grabbed my tripod and camera and made for my car. Upon shoving these items into the vehicle I dropped the umbrella.

Leave the umbrella. This would be the part of the movie where the man would go back for it and the creature would grab him with it’s claws and maul him to death. The entire audience would be thinking, “You idiot! Why did you go back for that stupid umbrella? It only cost $10!”

I went back for it anyway—what can I say? I’m frugal.

The umbrella and I were both safe in the car; the doors locked.

It’s in the car already. At this point of the movie the music would rise fervently as the man would turn on the interior light and look into the back seat. As he did so he would see the creature there, like that guy in Jurassic Park.

I turned on the light. I was alone.

All was well.

The radio was turned on. Jars of Clay. I started my car and drove the distance back to Sandpoint.

1:47 A.M.


Kris said...

Wicked is what I say also. And as you were saying it was turning into a nightmare before my eyes...The things that go through our minds!

cari said...

Awesome pictures! You're nuts for getting so close though.

Kathy said...

I had this amazingly similar experience last night.... might be blogable.
Love the scenes where the water is illuminated!

Corine said...

LOL - You have a great personality Jason. This was very entertaining.

I understand your frustration over the camera facing the "wrong direction!" Oh well, for what it's worth, no one else saw the magestic, untaken impages, to compare with these, (WHICH ARE ALSO GREAT). TTFN! :D

So Healthy Together said...

Amazing shots...I admit I would be having pretty similar internal dialogue as you...except mine wouldn't be bigfoot but of this B-Movie monster from "Prophecy" (came out in 1979)....images of that camper trying to escape, trapped in his sleeping bag and down feathers drifting like snow while he screamed.... *shiver* That has creeped me out in the woods for YEARS!


Amazing pictures!

A Lark said...

Awesome pictures!!

Deo Volente said...

...those photos are remarkable! Isn't nature’s fury amazing, hats off to you for braving the storm to capture the beauty within it.

Mamma has spoken said...

Great pictures as always. Your story reminds me also of some really cool ghost stories that I read to my students around Halloween: 'Knock, Knock, Knock' 'The Hook'....

hintonrae said...

WOW! Incredible images! So jealous of your ability to capture that. Loved your internal monologue--you crack me up. Reminds me of my turkey-in-the-backyard-that-I-thought-was-a-burglar-and-attacked-with-an-iron escapade. See, you're not the only one that has these random goober ways of thinking.

;) L

Valerie said...

My favourite part was, "What can I say, I'm frugal" Cracked me up. I'm the same though. The great lengths I go to, to save a penny are sometimes ridiculous. Loved the pics!!

Teachinfourth said...

K - It was a night which I will never forget...


C - We all have our moments, don't we? I won't lie and say that I didn't think about getting struck by lightning.

K - Do it. Those are my favorites as well. I just wish I'd gone out earlier...oh well.

C - At least not from the perspective which I saw them.

S - I remember seeing a commercial for that somewhere...creepy.

SB - Thanks for stopping by, Shelly.

J - Thanks, Nells.

DV - It's amazing what one can capture if they brave the elements.

M - I'm glad that I didn't become one of those stories...

L - I remember that story! Made me laugh...isn't it funny the things we think when we're out in the middle of nowhere?

V - Risking death to save a few bucks? Count me in.

Holms TP said...


The Scotts said...


Linn said...

You are seriously too cool! These are amazing!

And thanks for your comment. I wish you were in Utah. I have a nephew that is about six hours old that needs a good photoshoot by a fabulous photographer. :)

You are awesome!

Markus said...

That truly looks magnificent. I wouldn't have dared to go so close though, you nutjob :P

Teachinfourth said...

T - I wish I had captured some of the other amazing shots which were there.

J - Thanks. I want to capture a few in your area again, too.

L - I'll be back soon. How long are you in town for?

Glad you liked the shots.

M - I won't say that I wasn't nervous at a few moments, but in the end I think it was worth it.

Thanks for stopping by.

ComedySportz Utah said...

Those are amazing. You always get great shots of every thing. Jealous!!


SO said...

Wow! I would love to even see a storm like that let alone photograph it.

And what is too funny is I know that I would have that exact. same. conversation. with myself about bigfoot and the umbrella. Yes I would. I have and I still do.

Gerb said...

Wait... what happened to Bigfoot?

I am SO jealous that you were there to witness such an amazing storm. Thanks for capturing some great shots of it so I could enjoy it vicariously!

Teachinfourth said...

S - Takes time...of course, you should have seen all of the shots I missed!

SO - It was fairly breathtaking, to be honest.

Self conversations, aren't they just great?

G - He probably reached my car right as I drove off - I probably just BARELY escaped.

As for capturing images, if there is another storm I can capture to share vicariously, I will do so.

Ratty said...

These are great pictures! I love this story of yours. I would have gone back for the umbrella too. I would have done it thinking of a horror story too, and it would all be so I could tell a good story on my blog.

birdeeb said...

Awesome pics! You are a good writer...written any books?

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