Thunder in the night

Last weekend I went camping for the first time in… at least a decade. In my youth I slept in tents frequently for both school expeditions and family camping trips, but I think the last time was when I hiked Tasmania’s Overland Track in early 2000.

Gosh. Can’t believe it’s been that long.

Anyway, I chose a momentous weekend to get back into it. Not only was a bushfire raging out of control a mere 30km away, but the heavens decided to crack open right on top of our heads.

We knew the rain was coming on that first night, but — even better — we were treated to an almighty thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night.

I lay cosy in my sleeping bag, dragged out of sleep, registering each flash of lightning beyond my eyelids and holding my breath until I heard the thunder rumble. In the dark, I grinned.

As the minutes ticked past, the gap between the flash and rumble narrowed until thunder and lightning cracked almost synchronously on top of our heads. And the rain hammered the fabric of our tent, while we stayed warm and dry.

Being cocooned in a tent beneath — within — the majesty of a thunderstorm is a unique experience. It’s just about as close to experiencing nature’s full ferocity as one can get (short of going out in all the wild weather!).

I loved it and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It seemed a privilege, really. Another great experience to channel into fiction one day.

That wild night of thunder and lightning is my inspiration of the week. Have you ever been in a tent during a thunderstorm? How do you like to experience wild weather?


13 thoughts on “Thunder in the night

  1. Sounds like an awesome experience!

    I used to camp quite a bit when I was a kid and I do remember it raining more than once. If it started to lightening and thunder, my parents would move my sister and I to the truck, so I didn’t get to experience that particular part in the tent. I do remember huddling in the tent, though, with my family while the rain pitter pattered on the tent roof. It made me feel safe and warm and the sound lulled me to sleep.


    1. Yes, the sound of rain is one of the most soothing — reminds me of a Babylon 5 episode, when Sheriden tells the story about when his father hosed the roof to help the young John sleep…

      Being inside a vehicle with the rain crashing down is awesome too. Happened to me on my drive home yesterday, in fact!


  2. How do I like to experience wild weather? From the comfort of my own home, preferably with a fire in the fireplace and a good beer in my hand. Got big windows in my living room, so I can see most everything.
    Glad you survived…and even had fun!


    1. LOVE being inside with big windows while the weather goes wild. If you substitute that beer for a wine — or a vintage port — I’m right there with you. 🙂
      But I don’t think you’d get quite the same visceral experience as having the thunder shake your bones…


      1. I will agree with you on a couple counts – it’s a different experience to hide behind a window (but then I’m a wimp), and hands-down the wine in Melbourne is amazing, but the beer is better here in Seattle. We’ll have to do some cross-cultural exchanging at some point… 😉


  3. Oooo, Ellen! I’ve camped with rain pummelling the tent, the pounding of the lake seemingly outside the zippered flap, but never with thunder and lightening. Fabulous!

    Of course, anything Tasmanian sounds exotic to this Canadian!


    1. Tasmania is certainly beautiful, and I love camping there (except for when the leeches get you), but this actually happened in the state of Victoria. Having said that, Canada has amazing scenery too. I’ve done a camping trip through BC and the Yukon and dallied in Banff for a few days. Gorgeous. (Except for the fear of bears!)


  4. Sounds like you had a grand adventure! How bold and daring of you to camp with a wildfire nearby and in a storm. I’ve become a fair weather camper in my old age, probably because I’ve camped in one too many downpours and ended up with soaked gear and not much sleep. But I do LOVE a great summer thunderstorm. Thunder and lightening? Yes, please! Bring it. I love how the air is charged with electricity. I’ll just park myself on a wide front porch with a beverage in hand and watch the show from there.


    1. Yes, I thought camping near an out-of-control fire was mightily intrepid! Possibly foolhardy. But it was all safe enough.

      I think my friend was concerned about soggy bedding, but I’m ever the optimist and trusted in the waterproofness of her tent!

      Watching from the porch is another good option — at least that way you can see, feel and smell the thunderstorm.


  5. I am awed and humbled by the grand forces of nature. I’ve not had much experience camping, so now I would prefer to experience the wildness of a thunderstorm from inside a cozy cabin, preranly with a fire in the hearth. Sounds like a fantastic adventure Ellen!


I'd love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s