big storm

Diane Gansauer, on a solo walk in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin, weathers a storm in fine form:

The storm didn’t move so neither did I, except to cover my pack, grab a poncho, and then retreat back to my sage brush. At the last minute before leaving home, I had thrown a bright yellow poncho into the pack—extra coverage in case a storm was more than my light rain jacket could handle. Good idea, ridiculous color. I think it was left over from a kids’ fishing fair years ago, but I still had it because it was tightly wrapped in its package and very packable. I now looked like a big yellow bump in the Basin…a bright yellow gum drop that had dropped from Valhalla when the thunder god started hurling bolts. The rain was so relentless that even my good rain pants were compromised, but at least I was covered.

I also noticed that I was calm. Damp, a bit cooler than I’d like, but calm. There wasn’t reason to be calm….The storm was on my location. The wind was gale force and nonstop. The rain came in varying degrees of pelting. If the energy had been connected to a beast, the creature could hardly have been more single-minded….I started laughing. Thunder cracks and pouring rain for more than an hour now, and under my gum-drop poncho, I was laughing. It felt very good.

–from her essay “Good Choices,” in the just-released issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, the home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads.

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