Sunday, July 26, 2009


It came out of the northwest, growling and grumbling and flashing across the northern Wisconsin evening sky like Fourth of July fireworks. We sat watching the storm build over Lake George just east of Rhinelander—the grandkids, my kids, Ruth and I.

An impressive storm, no doubt about it. I have seen many thunderstorms over the years and this one was seeking some kind of top of the heap ranking. Maybe because it was so easy to watch over the mirror smooth waters of the lake. Maybe because the thunder echoed and seemed to roll across the water, bouncing against the shore.

The storm slowly eased in our direction. The sky grew darker and the first scattered drops of rain began falling, huge raindrops, the kind that strike the ground and send up a little splatter of mud in their wake.

Looking out our cabin window, we watched the rain fall so hard we couldn’t see the cabin across the way. The lightning flashes and thunder grew closer together. And then, a tremendous roar, a brilliant flash of light, a shower of sparks and total darkness as all electricity went out. Lightning had struck a tall pine tree about fifty yards from the cabin, tearing out a slice of its top.

The younger grandkids had not experienced such a storm as they helped us light candles and find flashlights. We spent the evening telling stories, enjoying the adventure, and realizing that nature is still a powerful force.

THE OLD TIMER ASKS: When does old begin? He had a recent birthday and is wondering.


Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. August 2-8.

Writing From Your Life. Sheboygan Public Library, August 20, p.m.

Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. October 17. a.m.. & p.m.


August 15. Creekside Books, Cedarburg. 12-3:00. Old Farm.

August 16. Railroad Days, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

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