How apropos that the sky is growling and grumbling as I begin this post … that the tink-tink of rain is creating a harmonic symphony on the skylights…
You see, two weekends ago, I wasn’t home when the weather literally blew – and rumbled, and rippled – across our desert homestead. I suspect the skies were doing much the same thing then as they are now: growling and thumping, flickering and hissing amid lightning bolts.
Hubs and I were returning from town that day (not by covered wagon, folks – but by today’s Wild West version: our pickup). As we drove down one of the big hills that offers sweeping views of the San Pedro River Valley we call our home, we were privy to an incredible show of dancing lights.
Then we returned home to find:
1) A fried subwoofer next to the television
2) An inoperable weather station
3) A wiped out video surveillance camera
The assessment, of course, was that lightning had struck nearby or even had possibly struck our home directly. The biggest perplexity, though, was the eerie calm of our cats when we walked through the door. Had they experienced a deafening crack from a lightning bolt (some of these fierce, ear-splitting bolts make my arm hairs stand on end), I’d have anticipated bushy tails the thickness of bottlebrushes and marble-sized eyes for a few hours. At least.
Yet they were calm.
And yet, we discovered this a few days later:
Yes, to my dismay, one of my beloved saguaros had been hit by lightning, only 150 feet from our house. The craziest part is that the top of this once luscious green, healthy fellow was blown a good 50 feet down the hill (see below). Talk about the power of Mother Nature’s wrath (I know this is nothing compared to what folks on the East Coast faced this weekend … it’s a small example, though, of nature’s brute force).
For Writers: This event obviously got me to thinking about the things that happen when we’re not looking … the things that can go unknown or unnoticed if we don’t investigate, dig deeper (or if someone doesn’t clue us in).
I think this unknown lightning strike taught me to be even more alert as a writer, even more inquisitive … to always search out the story, even if, on the surface, it seems as though it might have only existed in my imagination.
Are those events in life – the things that happen when you’re not looking – important to you as a writer?
What about the characters in your fiction? How does a story change, a character grow or react, when she suddenly learns of an event that happened, or of a secret withheld when she wasn’t looking?