Monique M. Keller
When lightning strikes all senses come to life. A charge with such immense power and force stimulates the production of adrenaline rushing through the human body. It was an overcast day when we set out for our hike one Saturday mid-morning November 2021 on the Milorho hiking trail situated on the Magalies berg’s northern slopes.
You see lighting occurring from positive to negative charges between clouds, air, or ground. A spark with varying degrees of intensity but always intense. We walked comfortably in pleasantly cool conditions. Over rocky sections, through smaller gorges, boulder hopping and flat grassy sections make part of the scenic 12-kilometer nature escape as Retha-Mari and I prepare for the Kilimanjaro ascent later this year.
Lightning one of the oldest breathtaking natural phenomena on earth can be seen and experienced in heavy snowstorms, intense forest fires, volcanic eruptions, huge hurricanes, nuclear surface detonations, and what we experienced during our hike thunderstorms.
It started raining after about 40 minutes into our hike. Covering our bags against the rain we continued walking. At first, the rain fell softly, cooling us down. What we soon realized was that we missed a route marker and are walking on the mountain bike route. It seemed to be better than no route marker, but as the rain started falling with more intensity visibility deteriorated. The clouds heavy with rain and the thunderstorm producing lightning at regular intervals. Thankfully the lighting didn’t strike too close to us. What we agreed on was to not stand below a tree and we followed through with this plan by walking and trying to find our way. No panic just wet and lost. Our feet moved forward, eyes searching intensely for a route marker. At that point any route marker. We managed to find the elusive marker and followed it till we neared the last 30 minutes before reaching the rock pools, close to the end of the trail.
It was then that out of the clearest sky we have seen the entire time while hiking that lightning struck one more time but much closer. Close enough to feel the electricity through our nerves. Feet vibrating with impulses reaching up my legs, the nerves almost familiar with the electrical charge, up into arms and hands. Retha-Mari held her left ear. Too close…
“Step potential is when the voltage between a person’s two feet are at different values. This potential difference creates a voltage that drives a current through the body. It would have been best to keep one foot in the air when lightning strikes,” Paul my dear husband said, explaining what could have happened, what we should have done, and that we were not hit, or else I would not be sharing the experience with you. An immense close encounter with lightning. Echoing what we all know…against the vastness, might, and power of the natural elements we are but small.
Lightning Illuminated, Creation Illuminated, and above all God be Illuminated.
With love always,