...The island was covered in trees and the grass was over 3 feet tall. I tried moving through the grass fast only to start tripping on all the logs and stumps all over the ground that I couldn't see. I had no choice but to slow down and pick my way through the woods.
Lightning flashes and thunder were coming pretty close together, plus there was that lightning that kept arching over my head. I got to the edge of the island. The next island was a good 100 feet away. Ten feet out into the river and I could hear the lightning sizzle as it went over head. I put my rod tip down into the water. I have no clue if this was a smart thing, but it seemed like a better idea than holding the tip up in the air.
The sky overhead had dark clouds zipping by. More lightning and more thunder and the wind was snapping branches off the trees on the island I just departed. I could hear them hitting the ground. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit and I made that 100 foot stretch in record time.
Another island to navigate in the growing dark. Streaks of light and claps of thunder were coming awfully close together. More tree limbs snapping on the island. I reach the other side. Now I had a couple of hundred feet of river to cross. Out from the protection of the islands the wind hit full force, almost knocking me down. The whole stretch was 3 feet deep and luckily not moving too fast. Try running on a river bed, now add 3 feet of moving water. I wasn't moving very fast.
I now had the whole top half of my rod in the water as I walked along. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit is all I kept hearing in my head. To the south it was pitch black and thick bolts of lightning looked like they were coming down directly into the far end of the river.
I got up on shore and breathed a quick sigh of relief only to realize I was now standing in the middle of a bike path a quarter of a mile from my car. A wide open bike path with nothing on either side but more open space. My heart sank and I headed off. I finally got to look to the west to see what was coming. A solid wall of pitch black clouds. Beyond that was that sickly green which basically means that this ain't good.
The sirens started screaming up and down the river again. I stopped and fumbled for my camera to get a picture of the approaching storm right when lightning crawled across the sky over my head. I could feel the hair on my arms stand up. I crammed the camera back down into my waders and took off. I kept the tip of my rod about a half inch off the ground. What else could I do, I'm not going to throw it off to the side. I like this rod.
The funny thing about all of this was that during all of it, I never panicked. Sure, there was a sense of urgency, but this was what I was up against. There was no point running around screaming. I needed to get from one point to another, there wasn't much I could do about everything that was going on around me.
Instead my brain just hums along. Laughing when I trip over something, trying to remember spots I waded through so I can come back another time to fish them, songs going through my head. I kept thinking that if I could survive a lightning hit, I would stop right where I was to watch the whole scene unfold.
A loud clap of thunder brought me back to reality. It was the fear of excruciating pain that kept me going.
It still hadn't started raining when I got back to the car. Just a tremendous amount of wind, lightning and thunder. I had made it and I didn't get myself killed. The wife would be proud of me.
I didn't bother stripping out of my waders. Right next door was a gas station and I knew I wouldn't make it home without filling up. Still no rain so get it done.
The sirens were going off again, the rain was starting and it was darker than hell. The drunk and the crazy kid were gone, but now people were standing around the gas station lot watching the storm. The sirens were wailing. People were talking about what to look for in tornado clouds. The whole time I'm standing there thinking that we are the people that wind up on the news. The ones that get killed by storms. People watching the news will be thinking, awww, poor people.
Trust me, the sympathy is undeserving. Not a single one of us even attempted to heed a single one of the warning signs.
The ride home was fun. Not being able to see the road. Hitting a wall of water under a train viaduct that buried my car. Getting behind someone that was obviously pissing on themselves as they drove, doing 25 mph for a good 10 miles in a 55 mph zone. Slamming on the brakes at shadows and almost veering off the road a few times. Not me, the idiot in front of me.
The familiar ring tone and the first words out of my mouth were "I'm a couple of blocks from the house, could you have a beer sitting on the front porch for me please?"
"You think you need one, hunh?"
"Yeah, it was an interesting night."