Six hours ago I was out just before sunset, in the cool of the evening, working in my backyard garden, pulling weeds and cleaning them up into piles with an aluminum-handled rake. The air was still and it was a very pleasant evening to be outdoors. There were no lightning strikes within miles, although there were a few short rumbles above me, but nothing that seemed menacing.
The flat clouds above had begun to sprinkle largish drops of rain, so I leaned the rake over against the tall wooden fence and had moved under the eaves beside the house to avoid the increasing rain. I was about to hurry over to my back door about ten steps from where I was standing, when a bolt of lightning struck directly in front of where my eyes happened to be looking. The bolt was 40° to the right of the path I had just launched along and the same distance from the door.
There was very brief sizzle sound as the flash occurred and then a very loud single bang. At this same moment, my left shin had a sharp pain as I reflexively went into a crouch, and apparently my shin hit a large porcelain jar next to the path. All of this happened in less than a second.
The bolt visually appeared about eight inches in diameter and seemed to be nearly vertical and following the trunk of the Ponderosa pine tree just a few feet behind the fence. On later observation, I found no sign of a burn mark on the tree. I checked the aluminum rake and it appeared normal too. The whole thing happened so fast that other than the reflexive jerk my body didn’t get excited, and I just walked the path and went inside.
About twenty minutes later at five o’clock the electric power failed and didn’t come back on until 11:05. So lightning made my mundane life more exciting.
So, after my quotidian needs were met, (the now ‘au courant’ word), I was late getting started on this blog post.