There is a beautiful storm going on outside. The sun has given up the fight and the clouds have decreed darkness. While walking out to put the windows up in my car (because I don't learn), I was reminded of another storm long ago and a moment of pure magic.
I spent my teenage years running around the mountains of central Utah, often with moccasins on my feet and a Bowie knife on my belt. Nothing is really left of that time, I no longer live in the mountains, I stopped wearing moccasins after I had to kick out a windshield wearing them (less effective), and I lost the Bowie while falling down a mountain. All good stories, but not the one I'm telling here. Back to storms...
Mountain storms naturally possess a certain fury, as if they resent anything living where nature should stand isolated. The storm in our story was an extreme example. Regular descriptions simply don't communicate the rage the sky was unleashing. So rather than waste time telling you what it wasn't, I'll skip right to "wrath of heaven." This was the kind of storm that lead our prehistoric ancestors to imagine a clash of gods.
Naturally, I went out in it. I have never claimed an abundance of good sense and my teenage self lacked even the traces with which I now make due.
It was a short walk I had to make out to our old shop, but I walked slowly, as if under a heavy weight. This doesn't reflect on my mood, I was having the time of my life. Rather, the weight I felt was more literal. The mass of rain on my head and shoulders seemed to multiply on top of itself until it felt like I was carrying a yoke of buckets.
So I walked with my head down, shoulders and hands drooping while water coursed down them in rivers that played and splashed off my fingers. Slowly I raised my arms, palms down, to both sides of me, feeling the water press along my full wingspan.
Then, like a rubber band released, came my moment of defiance. In a snapping motion, my head and arms threw backwards, revealing my face and palms to the storm in the unmistakable pose of a madman.
In that second, that moment, that exact instant in time that the first drop hit my face, the world exploded. As if triggered by the same insane impulse, the storm unleashed a bolt of lightning that split the sky right before my eyes and a simultaneous crack of thunder that rocked the ground and vibrated every nerve in my body.
Now folks, the majority of my mental makeup is scientific and rational. I know full well that such timing could only be coincidence. And yet, at the time I felt an assurance, deep in my core, that I had summoned that lightning. To this day, echoes of that feeling remain and I still grin at lightning clouds as if sharing a private joke.