…the branch of science concerned with the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere…
We were walking near the Ohio State University stadium on an early summer mid-afternoon, just exploring as we often did. The sky suddenly became very gray and looking to the southwest we saw why. A black line in the sky was approaching and pushing the gray clouds ahead of it. We could feel the wind velocity increasing and shaking the trees but we were transfixed. The black line, stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions was an amazing, apocalyptic, thing to see.
The closer it came, the darker the sky became and more violent the wind. Behind the dark line were more heavily packed rain clouds and before the black line was overhead we began getting pelted with fast moving rain and hail.
We took shelter under a tree but the hail was busting right through the branches so we ran looking for shelter and came across a very large storm drain, which I think is located here. We ran inside and watched the hail get larger, then smaller, then move on entirely to be replaced by a torrent of rain and lightning.
Looking around, we saw that the storm drain, about six feet in diameter, disappeared into the darkness to the east. We decided to explore but could only go about a hundred feet before it became pitch black.
When the storm subsided we headed out and saw the damage everywhere. There were a lot of people out now, and many asked us, “Did you see that?” And everyone who didn’t ask got asked that question by us. A nice phenomenon to experience. I’m glad we weren’t in a movie theatre, which is where we were usually found that time of day.
We told our friends about the storm drain, and everyone thought it would be a fun thing to criminally trespass and see if it came out anywhere. So the following weekend we took our flashlights and matches and the six of us drove to the stadium. It was dusk when we arrived. Even though there were no warning signs we suspected this was ill-advised and possibly illegal. But there was nothing to stop us, not even a single no trespassing sign, so we disappeared into the strange underground darkness.
The drain was corrugated steel and the floor, being uneven, was difficult to get used to, and progress was slow. After the culvert made a few turns it became very dark. About a half hour later, and having not seen a single outlet, the girls were getting nervous, so we started telling stories of giant mutated alligators to make sure we got the full experience. We yelled loudly to hear the echos, but could not hear anything else. At this point we didn’t know if we were under the road, the stadium, or even how far in we were. We were all feeling claustrophobic, and only went another few hundred feet before we ended the exploration and headed back.
Outside again, we realized it was much later than we had thought. We began to make our way to Bernie’s Bagels and Deli on High Street and had to walk around the stadium. For some reason, a chain link gate was open. Not fully open, but not secured and slightly ajar. I think it was the fact that we had survived the culvert exploration that made us think we could get away with another trespass.
We ran all around the stadium, even climbing up to the flagpole platform (seen in the foreground of this picture). We ran the entire length of the field, throwing a pretend football between us. I (gently) tackled Fran and kissed her on the fifty-yard line. Not many people can say they kissed anyone on the fifty-yard line of the Ohio State University stadium, but no one but me can lay claim to kissing Francine there.
We didn’t push our luck anymore that night. We found our way out, got a bagel and lox and headed home, pleased that fate had given us a small adventure that didn’t land us in jail. I’m sure access into that culvert has been obstructed by now with railing. At least, it should be, to protect the unexpecting explorers from the giant mutant alligators.
Oh… and good luck wandering into the stadium at night to kiss your sweetheart on the fifty-yard line!
This one was taken at the beach in Frankfort, Michigan.
Fran said, “Look! That cloud looks like one of your drawings!”