Age: 23 Years Old
Day of Challenge: Day Seven
Date: 28 July 20012
Location: Jewish Graveyard in Fairfield, Connecticut
My extended family lives in Colorado, Florida, Washington D.C., and Connecticut. Since my father’s generation was born in Connecticut—where my grandparents still reside—that is usually the place for family gatherings. This past summer almost the entire extended family showed up. We were celebrating grandma’s 80th birthday.
Every day of this vacation, the family would gather at my grandparent’s house. There would usually be about two dozen of us. I spent the time going from room to room—trying to have a conversation with everyone that I don’t see very often. After several days of this, however, I got a bit tired. I started joining my younger cousin from Colorado—Trevor—and his friend in the back room. It was a good place to rest and get away from it all.
We talked a lot those days. Trevor and I have always had a great relationship. He’s so driven that thirsty for outlets. Talking for hours is easy with him. During one of the last days of vacation, a big storm came through our area. The rain came down like a monsoon. The lightening got pretty loud. While we waited out the storm, the three of us hung in the back room talking about the validity of dark humor (ie. Holocaust, 9/11, and AIDS jokes). It was a rather strange conversation. Everyone knows these jokes are inappropriate, but I can’t help but laugh when I hear them.
Anyway, when the storm started to settle down, the three of us decided to go for a walk. They had never been to the Jewish Cemetery that the house’s backyard ran up against. We walked there in the light drizzle. I’ve always enjoyed walking through cemeteries. I look at their birth and death date and imagine what the person lived through. To see people born in 1910 and die in the 21st century is beyond me. Imagine living through the wars, the depression, and the endless inventions. It would be a strange but incredible time to live in.
We worked our way around the cemetery for probably half an hour. I was looking for the section dedicated to children. It always made me tear up, but I had a hard time staying away. I couldn’t find it that day. So we started working our way back. By then, the storm seemed distant. We weren’t getting much rain. I showed them where cemetery and our grandparent’s house connected. It was so overgrown that we were unable to get past it.
Then it happened. A bolt of lightning struck in the exact location we were looking at—probably less than half a mile away. You could see the main bolt—nice and thick. But there was more. Off of all the sides were sparks. The sparks were flung in every direction. When the bolt receded, the sparks remained, just hanging in the air. Then, not a second later, we were hit with the loudest thunder I have ever heard.
All three of us were in the perfect position to see the entire thing unfold. I remember Trevor’s friend jumping up and down. We all started shouting unintelligible statements. The pure adrenaline that surged through us was incredible. We were in awe that we were able to see such an amazing sight. We made our way quickly back to the house—half out of excitement—half out of fright. We talked about nothing but the bolt the entire way back.
It was strange when we got back to the house. We told everyone our story. We explained it in detail…but no one seemed as excited about it as we were. It was so perfect! They didn’t have the adrenaline that was still dripping through our veins. The image stayed with me that entire evening. I was in awe of nature. What a show it had put on in that split-second.