Saturday August 29 2009
Evening: a storm comes to the desert. Heavy blue clouds over the northwest flats. Thunder rumbles. A gray veil descends over the Owyhee mountains - rain is falling, working its way down Pickett Creek. Sun rays pierce the clouds, tinting them gold to the west and an eye-aching steel blue to the north.
The lightning flashes, so bright it eclipses the golden light. The thunder booms. I'm out walking in it. It's too beautiful not to. I'm not afraid this time... but then I'm not riding a horse in it, and I am sticking to the drainage, not up on the flats.
The rain arrives from up the canyon. Gentle at first, then big desert drops. It kicks up millions of miniature dust storms. It wets, then quickly soaks my hair, my shoulders, runs down my back, pours down my face. The rain releases the sharp incense of the desert - the sage, the rabbit brush, greasewood, the sand.
Lightning whirls in the sky, a bolt making a circle above the northwest bluffs. Two circles. Thunder chases the bolts around. I stare transfixed, pelted by rain, dripping now, like the desert. I'm part of the desert, looking skyward, soaking up the rain.
The heavy rain keeps on moving down Bates Creek, cleansing everything in its wake, taking the lightning storm with it. It finishes up with little sprinkles, just like it started.
The storm leaves in its wake the fiery sunset, storm clouds and rainbow: the visual orchestral finale of another Owyhee summer storm.