Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Chronicles - Lightening

I’ve always been in awe of people who can tell good stories. Like my dad. When he starts to talk, the room goes silent, and everyone sits in rapture. Story telling has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember... campfires, bedtime stories, sleepover ghost stories with a flashlight creepily illuminating the teller’s face...

So I had this idea. I actually have experienced some pretty intense things in my life, some things, which if I had my family's talent, might make a kick-butt campfire story. So why not tell them in a blog? I’ll probably post one of these babies once a month. 

Sorry if they’re slightly over-dramatically written, I tend to get carried away when I’m excited about something (although I assure you I’m not making anything up). So without further ado, I give you Life Chronicles of Taylor – Part 1; The Time I Was Struck by Lightening. 

It was the summer of 2006. My dad was away on a flight and my mom was volunteering at Camp Crossroads while Leah was a camper. Nicole and I were spending our first week alone at the farm. The days were fine. The nights, on the other hand, were a little terrifying. Put two pre-teens in a lonely house on top of a hill with the closest neighbour being a 10 minute run through fields separated by electric fences, and it’s bound to be a little scary when the sun sets.

My mom had purchased 30 chicks that spring which we were raising for meat. They were free-roaming, but at night we had to put them back inside their coop or coyotes would surely snatch them up. 

One afternoon while I was reading on the couch, the sky became very dark. I stepped outside on the back deck and saw a black, angry cloud rising from Lake Huron. The air was still, the birds were silent, and you could sense the electricity in the air. I knew one of our famous Bruce County storms was on its way.

Nicole and I ran through the house shutting windows, collecting candles, and filling jugs of water. I had the genius idea to throw a massive frozen lasagna in the oven incase the power went out for a long time. Priorities, right?

Finally everything was safe and secure. Nicole and I sat at the window and watched the grey sky turn to black and begin pelting rain and hail. Thunder rumbled quietly at first, then started booming loud enough to shake the glass panes and dishes in the cupboards. 

My heart pounded. I hated thunderstorms, especially when my parents weren't around to rationalize my fear. Nicole, on the other hand, watched with wide-eyed wonderment. "I hope we see a tornado!" I looked at her and scowled.

Suddenly, I had a horrible realization. The chickens! In all the excitement we had forgotten to put them into their coop. My mom had once told me that chickens are dumb enough to drown themselves in a rainstorm by looking at the sky with their beaks open. She had worked so hard to keep them alive thus far that I couldn't let them all die.

Letting my adrenaline guide me outside, Nicole and I ran through the pouring rain to the chicken coop by the forest. Thunder clapped loudly and lightening lit up the sky. Thankfully, half the chickens had figured out how to get inside to safety, but 15 of them were running around in a sopping panic. I flung open the hatch door and we started tossing the chickens inside. 

Then, and to this day I don't know why I did this, but I noticed their water dish was empty and thought it needed to be immediately filled. I guess I was thinking that if the storm got bad enough I wouldn't be able to give them water for a long time. My mom had also told me that chickens need fresh water a couple times a day or they could die. Sensitive little creatures.

I yelled over the storm at Nicole to keep putting them in the coop, then grabbed the dish and took off to fill it. 

We have an outdoor water spout attached to the house. I put one hand on the metal pipe that stuck out of the wall, and with my other hand held the dish in the water stream. I was soaked by this point, and too deliriously focused on finishing my task to care about the lightening hitting the field beside me. 

All of a sudden I felt the worst pain of my life shoot through my entire body. I opened my eyes and realized I had been thrown and was now lying on my back on the lawn. I heard Nicole screaming if I was okay, then helped me up and pulled me inside. 

Apparently lightening had hit the house at the exact moment I was holding onto the pipe and had my other hand in the water. 

My grandparents were staying at the cottage at the time and quickly drove over when they heard what happened. My grandpa was a doctor and told me I was pretty lucky. I wasn't burned, but my arms were numb and hot to the touch, and my wrist had been slightly sprained from the jolt. 

So, other than a wrist that still makes a weird popping sound when I turn it in a circle, I am a lightening survivor! And it makes a sweet story. The end.

PS. A year later my sister Leah was struck at camp when she was in the boathouse leaning against a metal bar and lightening hit the building. They had to take her to the hospital and hook her up to a heart monitor, but she was also okay! And now forever dons the nick-name Lightening Girl.

PPS. My grandma Raymer was also hit by lightening as a girl through the metal step on her porch. So I'm really thinking our family should start buying lottery tickets.

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