In late August I drove up the
Soda Creek campground is a beautiful place, on the edge of a meadow between
When I arrived, I didn’t know that the storms would last all night. I kept a tidy camp and lit a small fire, but kept it hot enough to burn through the rain and cook dinner. The storms passed in waves. One moment the air would be clear, with no rain, and I could wander to the meadow to watch the cells collide over the peaks. At those times, the sun shone through cloud-breaks with rich warmth, drenching the grass and trees with light. The next moment, lightning would flash behind me and I’d retreat to the camp before the next bruising thunderhead raced overhead, bringing rain, darkness, and probing lightning strikes.
Flash. Boom. No time between them – and no sense of security huddled under a tree. At one point I sat inside my truck, but my wet clothes turned the cab into a sauna within minutes, and I went back out in the storm. I thought about the backpackers who were camped up on the mountain at
Back in the meadow, the sun set in spectacular fashion. Nature was on display, modeling everything she had. Cells continued to roll through, from Bachelor to South Sister, from Bachelor to Broken Top. Between the storms, light poured through the gap where the highway turned south at Devil’s
Whiskey burned, too. If you’re standing in a storm you might as well drink right from the bottle. I didn’t have that much, but that’s because I also had beer. And a little liquid courage goes a long way in a liquid downpour. After nightfall I realized that as challenging as the storms had been mentally, they had pushed me to remain positive and to be accepting of the circumstances. And when the storms decreased in intensity, in duration, and in proximity, I started to miss them. I threw more wood on the fire.
The clouds began to thin, the storms became more isolated and infrequent. As night grew deeper, a few stars spackled the breaks between clouds. The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, ploughed through the clouds and poured some sort of cosmic energy onto South Sister. But lightning still flashed on the slopes of