The drops gave way to hail and pelted and bounced off the now wet ground. The temperature suddenly dropped and the wind whipped up. Shoot! I was still in my hiking sandals and shorts. The trees reached their saturation point, now leaking water as the lightening got brighter and thunder louder.
I pulled out the footprint/tarp and swiftly tied it up in some smaller neighboring trees. Underneath was a large granite boulder--perfect for sitting, if I weren't too scared to touch it now because of the warning.
Hugging the south side of Johnson Peak, the Vogelsang trail is at the base of a literal mountain of granite--the exact thing the ranger cautioned me about. Huddled under the tarp where the granite boulder took up most of the space, I sat wavering back and forth crouched on my tippy-toes, shivering from fright and cold and making sure to not touch the boulder.
The lightening was BRIGHT! I saw the lightening while crouched face down! "Oh shit!"
The rumbling spilled through the canyon and valley, bouncing off and rolling down Johnson Peak and roaring through my body. Roaring. Through. My. Shivering. Quaking. Body. "Oh my God! Oh my God!"
This was it. My mind reeled for a solution. There was absolutely. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing I could do. I was as sheltered in place as I could possibly be.
The roiling thunder uprooted the whole landscape. The ground shook beneath me. Living in an area where we experience earthquakes on an almost weekly basis, were in not for the excruciatingly ear-splitting rumble that followed, I would have guaranteed it was an earthquake.
What was the time ratio of thunder to lightening for gauging distance? Five seconds for every mile? One second for every five miles? Let's see, one, two, three---BRRRRAAACCCCCKKKK! Whoa! At this point it didn't matter. It was here and I was right underneath it!
My body spontaneously shuddered and quaked, my senses were alert and mindful awareness of the predicament strong and clear.
The light shot just above me on the peak--maybe three hundred meters away. "Oh shit! Oh shit! Here it comes!" I cried as I covered my ears. The long explosion ripped and rippled through the air.
"OOOOKKKAAAYYYYY God, I get it!!!! I get it!!! I'm nothing! I'm nothing in comparison to You!!!"
(To be continued....)
JoAnn Saccato, MA is a mindfulness teacher, author, life coach, educator, and consultant in Northern California. She is author of Companioning the Sacred Journey and Mindful and Intentional Living: A Path to Peace, Clarity and Freedom