The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Hold this kite, will you?


It was in 1953 that my brother and I were sent off to summer camp. A modest respite for my parents lasting two weeks, I believe. It seemed longer but I was young then. The camp, called Camp Good News, is (it is still there) a church run camp on Cape Cod nestled in some hills.

We hiked, we learned some outdoor skills, we rode in canoes, and we learned to swim. I was only 7, of course, just a child. This was my first experience away from home but I don't recall being homesick at all. My memories of that time were mostly quite pleasant. If you don't count the Night of the Raging Diarrhea when someone apparently didn't properly wash the dinnerware. We won't discuss this beyond mentioning that I became quite familiar with the outhouse.

One afternoon, we had a thunderstorm roll through. We slept in large tents set upon wooden platforms. I think there were 10 to a tent plus a teenage camp counselor. The thunderstorm was a nasty one with lots of wind and rain and lightning. So windy that the tent flaps, normally open front and back and rolled up along the sides (which made the mosquitoes' access to our blood much easier, I suppose) had to be secured. Even that wasn't quite enough and two of us campers had to hold the flaps together at the front and back even though they were tied together.

As I stood there holding the flaps together in the gap between the ties, glimpsing the fury of the storm outside through that gap, I saw a camp counselor dash by as he headed for the tent just up from mine. Just after he moved out of view to my left, a brilliant flash exploded outside followed immediately by a loud "CRACK!" that almost deafened me. I felt like I bounced up a little bit and then back down. A split second later, my feet were tingling painfully and the ties came loose. The camp counselor I saw was lying on the ground about 20 feet away and ten feet short of a large pine tree that had been hit by the bolt of lightning.

Our tent's counselor ran outside after ordering us to stay inside the tent. I didn't think we were any safer there, just drier. The counselor was dazed and disoriented and was later taken to a hospital to be checked out. He returned the next day, apparently healthy.

You might think that experience at a young age would have left me with a fear of lightning. It didn't. Not any more fear than a normal, healthy, person might have. In my surfing days, I ignored the lightning to stay out in the surf (extremely stupid) and have been out in any number of thunderstorms.

I actually like them. The power, the wind, the smell of ozone, even the aftermath's necessary clean up doesn't bother me. But every time I see the lightning, I feel the soles of my feet tingle.

3 comments:

Linda said...

I also love rain and thunder storms. One thing you did not mention in your list of the special memories was the smell of the wet dirt washing off the trees and grasses. Growing up in the middle of Wyoming I have another one to remember....the wonderous smell of wet sage brush. Aaah!

Sightings said...

Well, I think you're in the right spot. Florida is the lightning capital of America, isn't it?

Sightings said...

Well, I think you're in the right spot. Florida is the lightning capital of America, isn't it?