We see the 'white' at this western Montana lodge

This weekend was punctuated with flashes of white. Saturday started with a 'bang', literally, as a thunderstorm rolled through the area. Of course, thunderstorms are the norm here in the mountains, and, I must admit, I enjoy them. The roar and crack of the thunder as it rumbles and echoes down the canyon - well, there's nothing man-made like it. There is always the danger of fire, but usually, this time of year, the danger is low.

However, the storm which rumbled through the canyon Saturday morning carried a little more 'bang for the buck' than usual. I love listening to the thunder, and so, in typical fashion, I opened the nearest window. Well, since I was still upstairs, the nearest window happened to be the sliding glass door from our bedroom to the upstairs deck. As a worked around the room, I relished the upclose and personal experience - or at least I thought it was up close and personal. And, then it was!

A brilliant flash, a deafening crack, the smell of electricity, the hair on my arms standing to attention. I spun around to see a tree swallow flutter to the deck (from the roof), and flounder around - obviously scared witless or more likely effected by the 'very present' electrical currents in the air.

At that same instant, the power failed. Now, those of you who live in areas where thunderstorms are a norm, know power failure during a storm is not unusual. However, for us - it IS! And, worse, since we generate our own power, it can also mean a crisis of major proportions. As I pondered my next move - Craig was down at the barn taking advantage of the heavy rain shower to burn a brush pile - Nathaniel came running into the room, crying and yelling "Scared You!", his version of "I'm scared spitless."

After a quick hug, a few comforting words, and turning him over to Hannah, I hurried out the door. First job - find Rosie, Hannah's Golden Retriever who had, moments earlier, been lying outside my sliding glass door. Second job - get Craig. After all, maintenance is his job, right?

I found the dog, hiding on the front porch - actually both dogs. Bo, the new pup was curled in the corner as if thunderstorms which struck the house (or so I thought) were the norm. Rosie, a little more upset by her up-close-and-personal experience, was hiding under a log bench.

Moments later, I shared with Craig my concerns that the lightning had struck the house, sighting the poor swallow (which, by the way, recovered quickly and returned to sitting on the roof - or so I assume) as proof of my theory. He, however, said he'd been looking toward the house at the 'moment' and saw the lightning strike either the chimney on the cold room, or the solar panels.

After a quick assessment for visual damage (after all, lightning doesn't strike the same spot twice - right?), I returned to the house to find the power had returned. THANK GOD! Since Craig could find no permanent damage, we were thankful we had escaped unscathed. (Side note: When Craig kicked on the generator later that evening, we found a timed delay switch in the lodge had been blown. However, as it was easily bridged, and just about as easily fixed, we remain thankful to have escaped more serious consequences.)

On another note: later that same morning I had the privilege of watching two bald eagles playing the wind currents up Narrows Creek Canyon. As I watched them feint, circle, and dive, the sun flashed and winked off the white of their tails and heads. That afternoon, as I worked in the lodge, I looked out just in time to see them rush by, apparently caught up in a game of race and chase. As they passed, the lead eagle rolled, reached toward his partner with his tallens, then righted himself - an amazing display of airiel acrobatics!

Otherwise, life is quiet relaxed and 'normal' here at this western Montana lodge. The sun is warm, the grass is green, the aspens and willows wear a shimmering cloak of green and white, and even the lilac (which typically blooms on the 4th of July) is getting into the act and putting out a few tentative leaves. The air has cooled in the aftermath of the weekend's thunderstorms, with a bit of rain over the last 24 hours to cut the dust and rinse the air. Today the sky is blue - like the Celestial waters lapping at heaven's shores - and a few fluffy white clouds meander by on their way to only they know where.

Lady of the Lake

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