I am deathly afraid of lightning. Duh. Who isn’t?

But living near the mountains and spending lots of time in the mountains make you revere lightning like never before. Those who like to play in the mountains know to get off the mountains before 1PM because after that dark, menacing clouds roll in and almost inevitably bring lightning with them. I have been on more than one poorly timed hike or ride where loud cracks have shortened my outing and sent my heart racing.

Last week a violent storm brought deafening thunder and frightening lightning to my house. I left my door open, allowing the violent light to enter my kitchen and living room. It was exhilarating. I guess you can get struck by lightning inside your house, through wires and large appliances. Growing up, my grandmother used to call us during severe thunderstorms to remind not to use the phone. God I miss that woman.

Just the other day I was with friends outside of Telluride. As it is monsoon season, one can count on quenching rains and purple skies every afternoon and early evening. We were standing (we thought) safely outside, as the electric part of the storm seemed miles away. My friend’s hair was standing up! We discussed the causes briefly, then whisked ourselves safely inside.

They say the best place to be during these electrifying times is in the car. As I was leaving Telluride the other day for more southwestern pastures, I ran over a pointy rock and blew out my tire. I knew I’d be safer in the car than outside wielding a car jack, so I waited the storm out. When a break in the storm appeared, I got out and changed that tire. Fast. With an elevated pulse.

Then I limped along on my donut to Cortez, where another lightning-filled storm awaited my arrival.