As the rain continues to drizzle down around our small apartment in southern California I’m reminded of several other rain storms I’ve enjoyed in my life. I can remember hour upon hour as a little boy sitting in front of the living room window and watching sheets of rain sweep down our little city street. I loved the rain in Pittsburgh, but it was rarely picturesque. Most of my favorite rain storms have taken place in the West.One in particular happened in Wyoming.
I was driving across the country that summer from California to Wyoming and from Wyoming to Pennsylvania. After a week with my grandparents in Cody, Wyoming I knew it was time to head east. I left after dinner hoping to pull off the side of the road and grab a few hours sleep when I got tired. The road was a lonely two lane highway which took off straight across the plains until winding its way up through the Big Horn mountains. Darkness closed and, by the time I’d crossed the mountains and began to descend the eastern side, a storm front was sweeping across the Great Plains.
Still high above the lights of the little towns of eastern Wyoming and South Dakota I watched as bolt after bolt of lightning shot down from the clouds. The scene enchanted me. Here I was parked on the side of an abandoned road in the wee hours of the morning watching the cataclysmic forces of nature march by. I’m not sure how much time passed before I realized that I could be taking pictures of the scene. I dug into the mass of luggage, clothing, food, and blankets in the back of my Ford Explorer and pulled out my tripod, camera, and shutter release.
Time slipped away from me as I took picture after picture and when I next checked the time, I realized it was well after three in the morning. I packed up the camera, folded the legs of the tripod, and turned the car back on. My car and I needed to cover a few more miles before I pulled the blankets around me and went to sleep.
I’ll never forget that night though. The lightning, the thunder, the opportunity to look down on the storm like a heavenly observer of God’s hand in nature. What a privilege!