Ascending the mountain road on a warm Alaska afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the subtle signs creeping over the edges of the peaks foretelling the impending concert of a high mountain storm. The performers were taking their places.
Clouds rolled down the slopes in mass, clothed in gray robes suited to usher in the grand performance. Charged particles of air whipped around, readying the stage for an electrical show.
The orchestra of winds, strings of falling rain, and thunderous drums, disjointedly tuned up to play their parts.
Instead of turning back, we drove forward over Summit Lake Pass into the stormy abyss. Good idea? Probably not, but we didn’t have much of a choice. Plus, I love the music of the mountains.
There’s a musical quality to a high mountain storm that’s difficult to resist. This particular July storm was a robust composition we witnessed on a berry picking road trip. So with the audience of Jeff, Summer, Saige and myself seated in the big, black truck, Mother Nature took the conductor’s podium and the symphony began.
The first movement was a calm prelude filled with peaceful harmonies that floated on twisting breezes as flower filled meadows swayed in sunlight.
The second movement brought turmoil as the tension increased. Drums beat low and slow while the winds whipped up melodies to a more dramatic pitch.
By the third movement, the tones were tumultuous as all the instruments cascaded towards a powerful crescendo.
Thunder pounded like a kettle drum, wind whistled through the reeds, while torrents of rain vigorously bowed the surfaces of lakes and rivers. The audience was caught up in the adrenaline of the music…terrifying, yet exhilarating as the musical climax was achieved.
The fourth and final movement recovered peaceful strains as the symphony drew to a close. Rain fell gently, colors were brightened, and early snows dotted the slopes. These were all that remained as the curtains dropped on our afternoon concert in the mountains.
We departed the amphitheater wet, but content that we had witnessed a musical masterpiece of yet another Alaska mountain storm.
*One final note. I’m not an advocate of running around like a lightening rod as these inevitable storms roll in. When we are outside in the threatening elements, we head down to the car, indoors, or to a lower more sheltered point to ride it out. Always have rain gear and an extra layer of clothes with you if you are in the high mountains of Alaska. Otherwise? Enjoy the show!