I have an intense fear of my roof being ripped off by a large bird. It happened again last night. I was lying in bed as a severe storm passed overhead, and my heart started to beat wildly.
When I was growing up in Burns Lake, we had nasty electrical storms. While incredibly beautiful from a distance, the fork lightening was known to be deadly and something to be avoided. Of course, after each storm, the local news would profile the same guy who had been hit by lightening 14 times in a row and survived. For some reason no one thought to fully question Reggie Stanson’s affection for playing golf in turbulent weather…nor did anyone do a suicide assessment on him.
As a young girl, the storms were terrifying. The house would shake. The lightening would illuminate the whole house for long periods of time. Tree branches would break and fires would start wherever the fork lightening hit.
One night, in a valiant effort to calm his scared daughter, my dad thought it would be a good idea to explain thunder and lightening – you know, to apply a more rational approach to the fear. Did I get the traditional children’s explanation such as “Oh, don’t worry. That is God bowling. The lightening happens when he gets a strike!” Or, “Oh, don’t worry. That is Mother Nature pushing a hot and a cold front together. They are fighting over space in the atmosphere just like you and your sister fight over your play area.” No. I got this tidbit of rarely used Scandinavian folklore.
Listen, Maggie. Thunder and lightening are nothing to worry about. What happens is sometimes, the Norse god Thor gets upset at the world so he opens up the sky and he sends a gigantic flying eagle down to earth and it lands on the roof of the house. Sometimes the bird flies off with the house and takes it back to Thor as a gift. See, nothing to worry about. Now good night, Sunshine.
With that jaw dropping anecdote, I was tucked into bed and left to worry about the dangers of thunder and lightening, our friend Reggie (and the fact that no one in the town thought he could survive one more lighting strike)….and now a giant eagle landing on the roof of my house and possibly taking it back to some guy with a weird name as a gift!
To this day, I am still terrified of thunder storms. Granted, I have a much more grown up understanding of thunder and lightening now – it is caused by space aliens who are doing a laser light show for friends - but the giant eagle thing is always in the back of my mind. It is why I own two cats. In the event the big bird shows up, I want to be armed with as much cat power as possible.
As a post script, Reggie survived two more hits of lightening and to the best of my knowledge is still alive and doing well. He has no hearing in his left ear and can pick up CBC North without a receiver. He has given up golfing in stormy weather but has taken up skydiving. Stay tuned.