Lightning Rod

OK, so yesterday it's doing that sun-and-cloud thing in the afternoon, and I figure it's as good an opportunity as any to go up on the hill to check on Hank and company. I haven't seen them in a while, and it's getting toward winter so hibernation is probably on their minds.

So I spend probably three-and-a-half hours checking out the areas where I've seen the bears during the summer, paying particular attention to off-the-beaten-path blackberry brambles and rotting logs I'd noticed had been torn into by animals larger than a breadbox. And I don't find Hank or any of his fellow bears, although, judging from the poops, they'd been around. I did find several deer, a polite offleash pit bull looking for its person, and one very upset chipmunk. (Those little tikes are loud: sounded like a car alarm was going off in a tree.)

But the weather didn't particularly cooperate: rain and drizzle on and off. The sun vanished maybe ten minutes after I set off. In dense woods, you can stay pretty dry if the canopy isn't completely saturated and you put about three seconds thought into where you go. During actual rain, I'd wait under a hemlock or something until the worst of it passed: being a bit of an idiot, I'm up on the hill in tennis shoes, jeans, and a long-sleeved t-shirt, my hiking equipment limited to a pen knife, an albuterol inhaler, and a stick I picked up along the way to clear out spider webs. As the crow flys, I'm maybe a mile and a half from my apartment: what could go wrong?

And then we get an actual squall: small, but still with wind, thunder, lightning, and a bit of hail. The thought crosses my mind: here I am, about two miles by trail from the nearest road, standing under a tree near the top of a hill while there's lightning about... and I didn't even bring a jacket. My mother would be horrified.

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