Absorbed in my computer tasks yesterday afternoon, I didn’t notice how dark it was outside at five in the afternoon. As I shut down the system and picked up my cell phone, I looked toward the window in the opposite corner of my office. It could have been eight at night based on the lack of light coming in through the window. I closed the door and turned off the lights in the outer office and hallways, paused at the outside doorway. It was raining.
I ran across the grass, jerked the door open and pivoted quickly into the truck, then headed out of town. A jumble of blue-black clouds swarmed around. In the space of twenty seconds, I saw five distinctive jabs of lightning straight ahead of me as I drove south toward 36 on K-120. All seemed to be very close to the same spot. Rumbles of thunder sent me on my way up the ramp, heading east toward home.
The heavy rain hit just as I crested the rise of the ramp. Silver sheets came from the south, sounding their pounding against the hood and cab of the truck. Tall rows of corn bent and waved in the driving wind; heavy-stalked seams of soybeans shuddered in the blast. I could feel the bursts against the side of the Ranger, twitched the wheel again and again to keep my course. Several times in the stretch between Highland and Troy, I had to downshift because of the drag of heavy water on the road. Spikes of lightning ripped through the shroud of the storm; a couple of times I could feel the thunder vibrating the truck.
There is a sort of odd pleasure, for me, in driving through a thunderstorm. There is so much sensory stimulation, so many sounds and sights, feelings absorbed through every capacity of the mind and body. There is the challenge, too, of driving safely, of sensing the drag on the tires, keeping enough speed to make my way without being reckless, avoiding the helplessness of a hydroplane.
It wouldn’t be much fun, though, without good tires and wipers that work well. Most of the time, most of us don’t really mind the challenges of life, as long as we believe we have what we need to overcome them. It’s certainly better when we have good tread on our faith and vision to clearly see the road. And enough wisdom to know that sometimes you just need to pull over for a while.