…but remarkably I survived.
Gather round, everyone, and let Uncle Scott tell you a tale. A tale of mystery. Of enchantment. Of the not ONE but TWO near-death experiences I had while on “vacation” last week.
My friend Leah and I had to go to Colorado for the wedding of our friends Erin and Phil. Now, this is a heartwarming tale, I’m sure, but trust me, there is danger on the horizon. Leah and Scott decided to drive. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Also, because road trips, under the right circumstances, are fun. NOTE: Near-death experiences are NOT the right circumstances (in case you were wondering).
So we’re driving along, and we hear that there are storms passing over Chicago and we’ll be driving right into the thick of it. Okay, no big deal. We’ll just pull over and nap in the car when the storms start to get really bad. Sounds logical, yes?
Then the entire skyline starts erupting with lightning. Now we’re not talking one bolt of lightning every ten seconds. We’re talking four or five bolts of lightning AT THE SAME TIME. One of the neat effects of this, you might imagine, is that the sky (for just a moment) is about as bright as it is in the wee hours of the morning.
It was off to the south of us, at least several miles or so, and it was BIG. Take the funnel cloud to your left and approximately triple it in width. And the ONLY way we could really get a good look at this thing was during those lightning strikes. The rest of the time, the sky was so dark it was hard to really discern the funnel cloud from the rest of the clouds around it.
At the time, it didn’t occur to us to be scared, or to panic. We were fascinated. So fascinated, in fact, that Leah kept swerving into the wrong lane of traffic because she was trying to catch a glimpse of the funnel cloud. (Okay, so that might be a SLIGHT exaggeration).
But we survive, and pull into a rest stop (having thusly passed and thereby escaped the funnel cloud – which was heading east while we were traveling west). And we sleep, thinking this storm is going to be so terrible.
Except for the part where it wasn’t. It drizzled. There was some wind. But there was not a STORM in the sense that I think of storms. And we saw no more funnel clouds. Which was a pity, really, because the lighting at the rest stop was GREAT. We had miles of visibility.
So that was the first time we almost died. For the second, we need to fast forward eight days. It’s the day of the wedding, and we’re heading out to have the photographer take the bridal party pictures. Since we’re in Colorado, and everything is so gorgeous out there, it was decided that we’d take pictures at Garden of the Gods, which is one of the most amazing places I think I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s just fascinating to look at, and very aptly named.
Garden of the Gods is a free park, and you can essentially drive through many portions of it, a lot of which head up some of the smaller mountains. This is great and all, except for one particular kind of weather.
The weather in Colorado was BEAUTIFUL for the 9 days we were there. Not too hot, not too cold, never humid. It was hotter in Ohio than it was in Colorado (not to mention muggy). Anyway, the ONLY time it rained the entire week was the afternoon where we had to drive up the Garden and take pictures just off one of the parking lots. After the wedding the sky had gone that scary iron-gray color, and you could literally see the clouds bleeding off the sides of the mountains surrounding us. The wind picked up, we were getting smacked with raindrops the size of Volvos, and someone’s brilliant idea was to put the wedding party up a mountain on the ledge to take pictures.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Hair styled for the wedding is going everywhere, shawls and dresses are flying all over the place, there’s literally lightning striking in the valley around us, and I’m perched one step away from a sixty foot drop. Leah’s got a death grip on the back of my suit, the photographer is telling us to move around if we’ve got hair in our eyes, and we’re all talking about what the headlines will read that night on the news.
“Wedding Party Blown Off Mountain” was the general consensus. “A Marriage Most Electrifying” was a close runner up.
But somehow, thankfully, we managed to survive. We got down off the mountain, and made it allllll the way back home to Ohio where I can get back to book two in peace and quiet. And without nature trying to kill me.