While I’m busy working on Become Stoic! 1.0, I decided to give my readers a story about a camping adventure of mine when Zeus decided to visit.
Camping with Zeus
The fire was happily crackling, casting shadows onto the trees that surround me. Above, the stars sparkle and the moon is slowly making her way across the night sky. A breeze occasionally swirls into the campsite and blows smoke in my face, but it helps to keep the mosquitoes away so I don’t mind. As the night continues and the temperature drops I move closer to the fire. It was the end of a great day of camping with my wife.
Getting up, I stretch and notice that my whole backside has become as cold as my front is warm. I turn my back to the fire to warm up before walking into the brush to relieve myself. I walk past the ring of trees that surround the campsite and into a brushy field that then connects to a hay field. On occasion I will stroll out here braving mosquitoes and wet pants from the evening’s dew to see the stars without the fire’s glow. The Milky-Way is fascinating to gaze at and ponder all the great men and women who have also looked upon it. Would Odysseus, if not a figment of Homer’s genius, see the same stars on his arduous journey as I? Looking west, I notice that clouds are beginning to approach in one massive line that stretches north to south. Flashes can be seen among the clouds here and there, but they’re too far to hear any thunder. Unfortunately, it looks like rain…
Heading back to the campsite I dump water from a nearby creek on the fire. The fire sizzles like bacon in a skillet with each additional splash. Using a stick I stir the fire to make sure it’s out and head to the tent to crawl into my sleeping bag next to my wife. Within minutes I’m asleep.
Awakening to the sound of small raindrops drumming on the rain-fly, the inside of the tent seems a bit damp from the humidity, but there are no leaks. I quickly go through a checklist of items to make sure they had all been covered up or brought into the tent. Everything is okay.
Flash … … … … Boooom.
“Hmm… the storm is getting closer,” I think to myself. “Oh well…” My wife is still soundly sleeping. I roll over and quickly fall asleep. There’s something soothing to the sound of rain on the tent and thunder in the distance.
Flash … … Booom!
Roused again from sleep, I roll to look at the ceiling of the tent. Slowly the rain begins to attack the tent with more vengeance. I begin to count the seconds between flashes and thunder, the storm is getting closer.
Flash … Booom!
A wind comes roaring into the campsite and hits the tent with a noticeable fury! The rain hammers the rain-fly. The tent shakes. One pole snaps, but the tent remains up! The storm has arrived! Occasional flashes illuminate the inside. I lay there watching the ceiling listening to the thunder trying to figure out when the storm’s worst has passed so I can breath a sigh of relief that my tent has remained standing. The rain ebbs and flows, but continues to come down heavily.
Everything is lit by the brightest white light for a split second before a earth-shaking crack shatters the relative quiet of the storm. My whole body jumps, wrapped in my sleeping bag! As quick as it happened, it’s quiet and dark. “WOW! That was close!” exclaiming to my wife as a smile grows across my face. My heart is pounding, my ears ring. Lightning just struck! (The next morning I measure it at only 75 yards away!) Zeus had made his presence known to us. It’s the first time I’d been so close while camping, but we were both safe. Lightning and thunder continue as the storm slowly proceeds east, but the storm lessens with each passing minute.
As the thunderstorm slowly recedes into the distance I lie awake inside my sleeping bag. I can’t help but think of the ancient Romans in their mud-huts on the River Tiber. How could they not be terrified!? It’s no wonder all ancient peoples worshipped a god of thunder! Safe inside our houses, we often forget the power of nature. It is truly awe inspiring!
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