When Nature Rules

Some things you just can’t control.  That’s so true when it comes to nature.

We humans may try to fit into nature, but we can’t control it.  From caveman days on, we found garments to keep the body warm and developed ways to make fire to heat the surroundings.  Now, humans build anything from huge Mc-mansions to cardboard caves

The morning after the big storm Lower Clam Lake WI was quiet.

The morning after the big storm Lower Clam Lake WI was quiet while the sky remained dark.

over heating grates in order to protect themselves from the elements.

But no one has yet discovered how to control nature.

That lesson was driven home over a period of 17 hours as part of our family gathered in our cozy cabin in the heart of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  At 9 p.m., on a recent Monday warm August night, a sudden thunderstorm hit, to be followed by seven hours of a continual natural light show: flashing lighting with loud, rumbling and sometimes sharply crackling thunder.

It was a pyrotechnics show that would be the envy of any entertainment tycoon from P. T. Barnum to Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.  Several of us sat on the screened front porch dazzled by the pulsating rhythm of the flashes.  We sat for several hours, enthralled by the sight of nature on full display.

We had a preview of the thunderstorm the night before when a similar but shorter burst of lightning and thunder hit at 3 a.m., awakening our grandson who charged to his parents’ bedside, frightened by the noise and light.  And this was a child who lived through several New York City storms – including Sandy.

He asked his parents why he was seeing “strobe lights” in the sky.  In his 10 years of life, he had never experienced an Upper Midwest thunderstorm.

The second storm hit, knocking out the power and sending us scrambling for candles and flashlights, along with a frantic filling of all available containers with fresh water.  (We keep several bottles on water for just such occasions when electricity stills our water pump; such outages are frequent in the woods as trees or branches fall across power lines in such storms.)

The following morning we awoke to face the prospect of no power, and it was another half day before the lights came back on.  This was a shock, since even deep in this forest, we are blessed with full electrical service, high speed internet and cable television.  (Our family so far has refused to sign up for cable.)

Yet, when nature has its say, as it did in this spectacular storm, we have use of none of the fancy gadgets.  Oh my, how will we ever survive?

Last night as we sat watching the light show, I swear I heard sounds of laughter in the rumblings of thunder.

Was that nature having the last laugh?