The Outhouse Escapade of 2003

Just took Oakley for a rare midday walk. We don’t do that very often. Today’s exception comes courtesy of a thunderstorm sandwich. We began the day with a sound and light show and will end the afternoon with one. The air grows heavy and ripe with moisture while a cool breeze tries in vain to brush it and the heat back.

Oakley has had his two walks, so whatever is slated to happen can. We are home. We are safe. We are not going anywhere until I feel reasonably sure that we can do so safely.

Don’t get me wrong; I love a good thunderstorm. Standing in my field and watching them roll in from the north and west makes me feel like a priestess of old connecting earth and sky.  Many years ago when I was still trying to work at a conventional job, I ran to my car to make sure that the windows were closed. An enormous green cloud roiled across the sky. The platinum lightning streaked though it. I stood there until my supervisor grabbed my arm and dragged me inside. He’d been calling my name to get my attention for five minutes, but the roaring wind coupled with my focus on the cloud rendered me temporarily deaf.

What I don’t love is getting caught in them on walks.

Some years ago, I watched the skies one morning. Orion performed an interpretive dance to express his impatience. Iffy, yes, but I decided that we’d at least be able to walk the trail around the larger lake at his favorite park before things hit the weather fan.

Not quite. The storm picked up speed, overtaking us halfway through the walk. Orion began trembling. He hated thunderstorms with a vengeance. I dragged him into the nearest shelter. At that point in the trail, it was an outhouse.

I don’t know how long we took refuge there. It was a Monday, and the park employees hadn’t cleaned that outhouse yet. Still, it was a safe if stinky shelter.

We crouched there for a good hour. Either because he could really see where the noise was coming from, or because he’d gone into shock, Orion sat and watched the lightning streak its way across the sky though the skylights.

The rain continued pouring after the electrical activity had calmed. Orion and I made it back to the car, a little stinky, a lot wet, but safe.

My sinuses haven’t been quite the same, but my love and respect for storms still are. I just prefer to watch them from a venue where I know I can get inside as soon as possible these days.

From his cave between the love seat and arm chair, Oakley agrees.

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