A Midsummer Night's Lightning

A Midsummer Night's Lightning

July 4, 2018
Meadowlark Trail

What could be more exciting than fireworks on a hot summer's eve? Our fearless adventurer would soon find out.

Phase 1 began with a walk along the Meadowlark Trail, in search of an unobscured view of the sunset. To that end, the evening's single sojourner, S–, strolled uphill. Soon enough the setting sun came into view. S– set up his tripod, and commenced taking pictures.

Meanwhile, in the sky behind him, clouds billowed, the wind picked up, and lightning flickered in the darkening sky.

As the burnt orange sky faded to blue, a light rain began to fall. S– packed up his gear and descended quickly. At the parking lot, our adventurer noted the increasing presence of people parking. It was, after all, Independence Day, and this parking lot, on the crest of a hill, was perfect for observing fireworks.

It was also perfect for lightning.

The scent of ozone filled the air, mingled with a waft of bug spray. As darkness desended, the gathering storm to the south garnered more oohs and ahhs than the fireworks to the north. People glanced nervously back and forth, from fireworks to lightning. It seemed as though heaven and earth were in symphony, with each trumpet of fireworks reflected in crashing cymbals and deep, rolling drums of thunder.

The rain fell harder. Amid the maelstrom, S– remained at his camera, capturing one 30-second exposure after another. The storm raged on.

There was a gasp from the crowd as three strikes occurred at once. "Did you get that?" someone asked. S– checked the camera, now wet with rain: he had the shot.

It was time to exercise the better part of valor, and conclude P1. As Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

Brief as the lightning in the collied night;
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and Earth,
And ere a man hath power to say "Behold!"
The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
So quick bright things come to confusion.”