Growing up in Florida included lots of lightning and thunder since it was one of the two states with the most thunderstorms. Then at age 25, I moved to the second state with the most thunderstorms, New Mexico. I found the experience of the lightning bolts, and the crashing thunder to be exciting. I also learned to be careful since these two states were also the highest rate of deaths from lightning. Here are the most memorable thunderstorm experiences when living in New Mexico.
Hiking with a friend in the area near Bandelier National Monument, it began to rain. New Mexico is a high desert, so the rain was a rare occurrence. We continued hiking in a canyon with huge boulders, steep sides, and beauty everywhere. The lightning began not far from where we were. One can determine the distance of the lightning by counting the seconds between the flash and the sound of the thunder. The smaller the number, the closer the lightning strike and therefore, the greater potential danger. As flashing got close so we decided to seek some shelter. I found a small space under a few boulders with just enough room for one person to fit. My hiking partner ended up in another protected area ten meters away.
In the space under the boulders, I noticed a spider handing very close to my face. After a few deep breaths, I relaxed with the spider also waiting out the storm. We relaxed, chatted, and finally said goodbye when the storm passed and it was time to leave. Yes, the idea of speaking to a spider is ridiculous and nonsense. Sometimes life does not follow logic.
My second experience with lightning occurred when living in a guesthouse. The lightning and thunder got so close the next strike sent an electrical impulse into the house. The TV reacted to this powerful energy by blowing up. The TV sent out sparks, smoke, and the clear message of its death. Knowing that lightning can travel through objects, air, trees, and more makes all lightning bolts potentially dangerous. Gladly, it only injured the TV.
On a visit back to New Mexico for a Level 2 posture workshop, I was staying in a home at the edge of the Sombrillo hills. When I lived at the ashram years before, I often ran in these hills. It offered quiet, rugged terrain. On this day I got to a hill and saw a powerful and beautiful lightning storm about ten miles(16 km) away. I went on running and when approaching another hill, I saw another storm. Very exciting to see these two storms. When following the trail down each hill, the view of the horizon was blocked. When I reached the highest hill, I saw a total of four storms making the lightning and thunder all around the area where I was running. Thrilling and potentially dangerous. I decided to take a shorter way back to the house to avoid problems. But just at that moment, the rain started with the lightning only a mile or two away.
Nature is often a wonderful influence when running, now the rain and lightning inspired me to go faster, avoid danger, and keep a positive attitude. I decided to avoid the higher parts of the trail to make my way back to the house by going around the base of the hills. Although feeling safer from getting struck by lightning, I was getting very wet from the hard rain and began to get covered with mud. For the next ten minutes, I continued running the trail getting wetter, muddier, and more exhilarated.
I arrived at the house drenched, wet to the bone, and nearly every part of my clothing covered in mud. It was wonderful. A unique experience like many I am happy to share in my blogs. These are just a few of the remarkable memories of nature exploding with joy, danger, excitement, beauty, wonder, and something beyond words.
Would you want to live where the temperature never got cold? Or a place that only rained ten days a year? Or a dense forest that blocks the sun? These various types of weather are like the various feelings that make us a complete human being. Accepting our feelings is as important as accepting the elements of nature. These experiences are part of a valuable life.
The photo is of actual lightning in New Mexico. Similar to the view from the Sombrilo hills.