Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You Can Feel It Coming

I am in the part of the Midwest today that has severe storms predicted with possible tornadoes.  Because I am home, I have taken precautions by squeezing both cars into the garage, out of the way of the dead tree that sits along our driveway.  I put a few things away from the yard, made sure there is water and blankets in the basement, and reminded my husband and daughter which pet to grab if we have to take shelter.  I am all set.

I can feel the storms coming.  It is way too warm outside for November, and a cold front is going to clash with this balmy heat wave in a couple of hours.  The winds are bending the trees and removing the last of the leaves from the brush.  Debris skips across the yard and driveway, and the birds have disappeared.  There is an ominous feeling in the air.  Mother Nature is gearing up to unleash her fury,   which holds a little excitement, a bit of worry, and a healthy dose of respect for her power.

Being at home is the best place to be when a severe storm attacks.  Sometimes I experience their wrath while hiking or camping in the wilderness, and the sense of excitement is replaced by a sense of survival.  There is no safe place from lightning, falling branches and trees, and tornadoes if you get caught outside.  So what do you do?

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Since beginning a routine of hiking and camping two years ago, I have read many articles and consulted with Michigan DNR officers regarding storm safety.  The general consensus seems to be "do the best you can" to get to a safer place.  I always have a plan of being aware of my surroundings so that if I get caught in a storm, I will remember where I last saw that depression in the ground, or

preferably a large hole with a ridge of solid ground around it.  I would make my way to the closest area where the ground offers some protection, huddle down, and wait out the storm underneath a plastic tarp.  In the case of lightning, I have been told to squat on the balls of my feet, with as little body contact to the ground as possible.  Of course I always have a first aid kit, water, and a little food in my pack.

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Having experienced a few storms on camping trips, I know that the tin can is not the safest place to be, and there have been a few frightening times when the lightning hit awfully close, or a large branch has narrowly missed the Airstream as it crashed to the ground.  During these times, I am all too aware of the deadly affects a strong storm can have.  At home, though, it is not so scary.  We have a safe shelter below ground with adequate supplies and an impending storm can carry a sense of excitement with it.  As long as I know where my family and pets are, we can weather any storm.

I feel this one coming.  It feels powerful.  With just a little bit of preparedness, we will be fine.  I think sometimes my family forgets that my time in the wilderness has taught me how to be prepared and survive.  I know how to handle this storm.  Bring it on, Mother Nature, I am ready for you.  Be safe out there today, folks, and watch for the storm, because here it comes!