Yesterday morning, I was having difficulty deciding which of several drafts to post on my blog—so I decided to take a break and scroll through the latest blog entries on my reader instead.
When I came across a poem entitled, “It’s Coming”, on Pat Cegan’s blog, “Source of Inspiration”, I was immediately reminded of an experience I once had as a teenager, when I and several others watched a storm sweep toward us across a high mountain valley. Pat’s poem elicited similar emotions and I felt unusually compelled to share my thoughts here.
I must admit that I’ve always been a fan of weather—all kinds of weather actually, but especially storms. Some of my most intense, visceral memories—the kind I can only describe as being “High Definition”, are of the many majestic storms I’ve witnessed over the years. Whenever I replay these in my mind, it’s as if I’m there all over again—even though the original experience may have been decades ago. I can still close my eyes, picture the scene in vivid detail, and feel nearly all the excitement I felt at those exact moments.
I’ll never forget one particular storm I experienced at a scout camp, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe, California. It was early fall, the camp had already closed for the season, and several families, including my own, were there to help prepare the campground facilities for the coming winter. Late one afternoon, after finishing our work for the day, a few of us decided to take a hike and enjoy some of the scenery from the jagged ridgeline that snaked through the trees, high above camp.
We set out in single-file along the trail, a dusty, worn track that wound its way along gray and black-flecked granite slopes. At this high altitude, the dense pine forest quickly thinned out as we climbed—and before long, there were only small pockets of trees to be found among the vast, tumbled mass of boulders. As the sun slipped lower in the west and the shadows grew steadily longer, we made our way along the rocky edge of a small alpine lake—one whose pristine waters mirrored an impossibly deep, almost sapphire blue sky. The lake’s surface was perfectly glass-like and undisturbed, save for the occasional leap of a small trout—which, on breaking the surface, would quickly disappear in a silvery flash. Everything seemed strangely still—yet there was an almost magical state of expectation in which everything, even the air, seemed bright, clear, and vibrantly alive. Even today, I can only describe it as a feeling that was profoundly surreal.
With some effort, we soon found ourselves near an outcropping high above the lake. As I scrambled up to stand atop the massive granite slab, the splendor of the view quite literally took my breath away. From our lofty perch, it appeared as if the rest of the world had simply dropped away beneath our feet. The sun, now sliding slowly toward the horizon behind us, left the valley below in deep, dark shadow. In stark contrast, the ragged mountain peaks on the far side—and seemingly another world away, were bathed in a soft, golden light that gleamed more brightly with each passing minute.
What made the view truly astonishing however, were the massive, rose-pink thunderheads that billowed up high above them. Their white, anvil-topped crests spread out ominously, miles above the peaks. We could actually see the clouds building as we watched—they seemed to boil up from the narrow gap between the earth and the leaden base layer of clouds above it. The sight left us feeling, at once, awestruck and energized—even euphoric. Even today, I can almost feel the hair rising on my neck and the excitement forming goose bumps on my skin.
We were so taken by the view that we stretched out comfortably on the rocks and watched, entranced, for the better part of an hour. I remember gasping in awe as intense streaks of lightning suddenly struck the far-off peaks. Each strike would be followed, some moments later, by the low rumble of thunder. At times, it seemed as if its resounding claps had somehow managed to shatter the crystal dome of Heaven—allowing twisted shafts of Divine Light to pierce through in brief, blinding flashes. We watched in wonder as shimmering veils of rain fell in the distance and pale rainbows faded in and out—almost as if they were playing hide-and-seek among the clouds. Although the storm was still miles away, the acoustics of the valley were such that the rumbles of thunder seemed to roll on endlessly. In fact, I sometimes wondered if I was still hearing an actual sound—or merely its echo fading off in my mind.
We were so enchanted and exhilarated by the show that we remained oblivious to the danger—until a frigid wall of wind and a deafening crash of thunder roared by in tandem. Their sudden passage left us shaking, much more from fright than the cold. It was only then that we regained our senses and realized that the storm was already upon us. Wide-eyed, we glanced at each other, jumped to our feet, and raced back to camp as quickly as we could. Skirting the trail and taking precarious shortcuts over rugged terrain, we made it back, breathlessly, just as the first big raindrops began plopping onto the dusty stones around us.
We burst through the door of the main cabin and startled the others, who had been relaxing by the fire. Our red-faced grins and excited chatter soon told the story, and even those who hadn’t been there could easily grasp the intensity of the experience—for Mother Nature seemed to be providing them with her own account of it, from just outside the cabin walls. It wasn’t long before we were all settled comfortably by the fire and listening to the waves of rain and hail rattling against the roof. As the storm raged on outside and each of us was left to his or her own silent thoughts, I stared contentedly into the flames, quite happy to be warm and dry. It truly was a day to remember.
As I watch events unfolding in the world today and compare my feelings to those I experienced during the storm, I can clearly see they’re similar. They’re feelings not unlike those which Pat described in her poem—and I’ve no doubt that many others are feeling them too. But the storm that’s on our horizon now is a different kind of storm. It’s a storm of change. While it may seem ominous and foreboding to some, it also has the potential to be just as beautiful, just as energizing, and just as remarkable as the one I once witnessed from the windswept side of a mountain. Whatever the future may bring, I know I’m ready to face it—because I have a deep and abiding trust in the Divine Intelligence that’s eternally at work in our Universe—and I somehow just know that all will be well in the end.
So if there really is a storm of change ahead—and I’ve no doubt that there is, then I’m all for it. Come Hell or high water, I say bring it on…we’re much more than a match for it!
Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.