John Swincinski

The Angry Sky
42 x 29 in
From the Lost Creek Storm Series, Number 3 of 5 I’ve been caught in the rain before. It’s just a part of fly fishing. I come prepared with a waterproof wading jacket and layered clothing. It’s usually no big deal – until it is. The sky is dark, as if the sun had already set. I’m still a good three miles from my truck when the lightning starts. Distant at first. Then the rain. It was like standing in a waterfall. I spent 22-years in the Marines and this wasn’t my first time hiking in the rain. It was miserable. I had just finished fly fishing for brookies in Lost Creek, caught seventy or eighty of them. It was an amazing day. But now, I’m wet, really wet. The trail has about six inches of water on it and since I’m wearing wet wading boots, my feet are soaked again. Suddenly, I could feel the hair raise on the back of my neck. A surge of adrenaline took me, I dropped my rod, and lightning cracked less than a quart mile from me. The Wigwam trail was in the open, I was in the open. I was carrying a graphite fly rod. I sprinted for the tree line. I moved about 30-yards into the trees. This is the most powerful thunderstorm I’ve ever been caught in. I’m in awe of its power. It raged on for nearly an hour, with Thor hurling lightning at forest at a nonstop pace. In the spectrum of mother nature’s destructive forces, it doesn’t hold a candle to tornados, earthquakes, or hurricanes. But it humbles me nonetheless. I am experiencing the sublime. Its why I come out into the wilderness in the first place – to know my place and be thankful for Mother Earth’s gifts and to learn to be respectful of her awesomeness.