Storm Chasing

Wonderful evening yesterday … dinner, drinks, and sunset gazing with Vanessa. One of those lovely evenings with a friend that reminds you of what the “normal” used to be.

As I drove to meet her, the storm clouds gathered and lightning became quite violent and I was so pissed that on this occasion, I hadn’t brought my camera.

I forgot about it all until I dropped her home and on the drive home, the skies became electric. It was a perfect evening for photographing lighting and it was as if the gods were pointing fingers of lighting and laughing at me for having left home without a camera.

At first I consoled myself that this was FL and this was likely not my only chance, for having missed it.

But then I noticed that subconsciously, I was driving faster and thinking that maybe I could get home, grab a camera, and run back out to the ball fields to try and get something before it all stopped.

It looked promising as I pulled onto Walker Road, just a mile from my house … the skies were still alight. But the gods saw my excitement, realized I was close to realizing my goal, and decided to send the rains.

And boy, did it rain. The heavens opened … just on me …. nowhere else on the planet was experiencing rain. Just that one little section of Lakeland, where Neville was.

But if they thought that would defeat me, the gods were sadly mistaken. I ran in home, grabbed a camera, back to the car (completely soaked, by the way) and drove down to the ball fields.

In the pouring rain, I set up the camera and tried to manage the settings. But the lens was getting wet and though I draped a little facemask over the camera itself, the lens and I were taking a soaking.

Undaunted I started shooting and stayed there for an hour as the storm moved to the distance and i tried hard to capture some of its glory. I had to repeatedly try to dry the lens and was actually into the last twenty minutes of it all when I realized I had set the aperture incorrectly and effectively under-exposed all the initial shots.

Such is the life of a storm chaser, I guess.

I hope you like the little collection that I have added here at the end of the blog. Won’t win any prizes, but some are still cool captures of what Mother Nature served up last night.

There is a trait most of us Ronans have. It begins with an “s” and end in “tuberness” and it was very much evidenced in me last night.

Obstacle after obstacle were put in my way and I refused to lie down and be beaten. The only element of failure I experienced was the under-exposure and that was by my own hands, so I can live with it. And I will watch for it next time, should I find myself in a hurried moment in the rain trying to do a camera set-up.

And that is the thought that played around in my head today as I started to look through the images.

I could see where my failings undid my efforts but I was nonetheless proud of the perseverance and my unwillingness to accept defeat.

We each experience life that is obstacle-ridden at times. No matter what our intentions, there seems to be a list of reasons why we are unable to do something or shouldn’t even try.

But in truth, we should ALWAYS try.

There is no shame in failing. And, in particular, when we have tried against all odds.

Those are the moments when we can actually take pride in our failures and wear them as a medal in our war against the gods.

Wars are waged in many ways throughout our lives and we don’t always win them. I remember seeing my grandfather’s medal from the Great War of 1914-1918 and feeling a sense of pride in him having played his part in it.

That he was on the winning side was a pure fluke, because he was not born in Germany. We don’t control our birth … the gods decide where we first open our eyes. So the men that were born in Germany and fought for their side should have felt equal pride in being a part of such an event.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that our pride from any event or moment cannot be based on whether we win or achieve. The end result is very likely not directly linked to our efforts alone.

Thus, our feeling of pride has to come from our having tried.

Last night’s war with the gods may not have given me a win, but it gave me a victory.

And I go through my day today, all the better for it.

… just a thought.