You Love the Thunder

June 8, 2007

There’s a serious summer storm brewing in Chicago tonight.  I love thunderstorms, the louder the better.  Something about witnessing the awesome power of nature – and I just like all the commotion, all the action.  Also, it’s seriously amazing to watch lightning hit the rods on the city’s skyscrapers.

The only truly frightening storm I’ve experienced happened while I was on a late evening train to Granada.  It was one of those winding mountainous journeys that aren’t normally unnerving as long as you don’t look down.  Since it was fairly late, night had fallen on the Sierra Nevadas so the views consisted of shadowy peaks and a sky liberally sprinkled with stars. 

Until a sudden lightning storm flared up.  We were literally in the middle of it (I saw lightning strike trees disturbingly close to the tracks), and trapped in the train.  There’s nothing like being in an enclosed space with bolts of electricity flying around you to spike your adrenaline levels (except for maybe paragliding in those same mountains, which I did later). 

My reaction to this situation?  After the initial “holy crap, that was close!” moment, I simply picked up my rather interesting book (Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain) and continued reading.  After all, there was nothing I could do to affect the situation and travel seems to bring out my inner Zen.

Clearly, the train made it safely to Granada, and my fellow travelers and I celebrated not getting hit by lightning with a few pitchers of sangria (although any excuse works when it comes to sangria) at a cafe in one of those charming little plazas that seem to exist in every Spanish town.

The moral of the story?  Lightning and thunder = stunningly gorgeous if you’re not penned in tincan of a traincar.  If you do find yourself in a similar situation, however, maybe you’ll surprise yourself with your response.

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