Sunday, August 25, 2019

Racing the weather far from home

Storm's coming
Just east of the Ontario-Quebec border
August 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The scene: Riviere-Beaudette, Quebec. I've just crossed the border from Ontario and still have an hour to go before my final stop in Montreal. I've been driving alone, fighting traffic and weather for much of the day. My wife waits at the other end, where she's been all week, doing the things that kids must do after their parents pass on.

The shelf cloud you see here has been growing in the periphery of my left eye for a while, and it becomes more ominous by the second. It isn't frightening, though. It's exciting. A reminder from the universe that we're surrounded by forces much more powerful than we'll ever be, and our only choice is to ride them out.

So I pull over at a highway rest stop because it isn't everyday you get to witness nature do its thing on such a massive scale. Or maybe I just wanted to feel humbled. Whatever.

After shooting across Highway 20 to the bewilderment of parked truckers beside the onramp, I get back in the car and continue on my way. Soon enough, the shelf cloud turns the overhead sky black before unleashing a relentless fury of wind, water, and lightning on the tiny humans below

It makes for an entertaining drive into the city, with both hands firmly on the wheel as I can literally feel the car's electronic nannies do their thing to keep me between the puddle-soaked lines.

But I smile the whole way in. Because journeys are meant to be memorable, and a little meteorological adventure makes us all feel that much more alive.

Hopefully I'll see another shelf cloud tomorrow. Hopefully I'll never run out of journeys where my best friend is waiting for me at the end of a stormy, rain-slicked road.

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