Since early in the day I had loosely stitched my plans together for the evening. Tonight, I was just an old bachelor with a Friday night to kill. My wife had headed into Arlington to see our daughter and had left me to do as I pleased for a rare Friday evening. It was only as the day progressed that I began to think that it might end up as just a quiet rainy night at home. The storms that I had been watching on the radar for the last several hours just kept inching closer and closer and closer. It was around 7 by the time I was done for the day and the storms had just kept getting more and more threatening.
I slowly put on my riding gear as I kept watching the weather thinking that it was just a waste of time. As I looked in the mirror at this stranger standing before me, it was then that i decided, tonight, ........tonight I ride. I don't care if the rain drenches me to the bone. I ride. I ride because my soul needed the release that it would bring.
I was less than a mile from home, heading Northwest towards the edge of the storm when the lightning began. It was beautiful. I was mesmerized by the beauty and strength that this storm was displaying. It wasn't that weak spindly lightning, it was bold and strong and it lit up the darkened sky with fingers that traced it's way across the whole sky, searching for places to touch and things to grip and destroy. Yet I rode on. I should have felt fear, but there was none. there was nothing in me but awe. I had accepted the dance that this storm had offered.
My destination was a little cafe out in the country known simply as The Hannibal Cafe. This little old cafe is all that is there. As I rode towards my destination, I felt the storm reaching out to me and I could feel the change in the air. I could not help but get lost in the clouds, the wind, the lightning and finally the drops of rain as they began to fall upon me as I neared my destination. I arrived just ahead of the heavy rain and I went inside to enjoy the evening and to wait for the storm to pass by. I ran into a few friends and sat and had supper and visited with them; occasionally stepping out to see what the storm was doing. It was beautiful. To the North and West, I could see the day fading away and to the South and West I could see the fury of the storm continue to rage. It was one of those places where you were experiencing both, the storm and the occasional calm in the storm but not swallowed up by either. I sat and visited until the back of the storm was just easing by us.
One destination down, one to go. There is a little watering hole in another little town near where we live that is such a relaxing place to sit and visit. It is like sitting in your back yard and visiting with friends. The only downside is that it was in the direction that the storm was heading. That turned out to be the most amazing ride. As I headed East I trailed the storm that had raged so furiously around me. The lightning lit up the whole sky as I followed along, almost as if it were luring me along into the dark night. The skies went from pitch black to brilliant displays of electricity that almost took your breath away with the raw power that it exhibited. I snaked my way along the backroads until I found myself sitting in the familiar surroundings of the "Greenwood". It was a quiet Friday night there, apparently the storms had kept many of the regulars at home. There were however a few people who had decided to come out in spite of the weather. I sat around and had a few beers as I watched the storm slowly continue on its path. Every now and then I would move to a position to get a better view of the storm as it departed.
The evening that I had so anticipated was slowly but surely drawing to a close. Slowly but steadily the few patrons that were there began that slow steady trickle out the door and suddenly I realized the night had disappeared right before my very eyes. I said goodnight to the barkeep and I headed out the door to my Harley for the ride home. I didn't go straight home this particular night, I took a little detour to a high point about two miles out in the country just so that I could have one last look at the storm that had kept me company for the evening. I pulled to this high point and just sat there quietly on my bike for a few minutes. It was a way of saying goodnight to a friend that kept me company on a quiet lonely evening. As I turned back on the highway and made it just a mile or two down the road towards home, the clouds softly parted and the full moon that had been hidden by the storm slowly began to peak out from behind the clouds. It was as if the moon had decided to reward me for enduring the storm.
I am not sure if I will ever view the storms in the night or the full moon in the same manner that I did when my evening began. It definitely left me with a new appreciation for what the night holds if your willing to brave the storms. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!