The gray of the landscape spread out before him in a misty blanket. The wind whipped through the trees, the branches swaying against it in a battle for who would survive the night. The trees had won this battle many times in the past, but there was no surety that they would emerge the victor on this occasion.
Ryan gazed worriedly out of the window at the sight. "The storm's coming," he said with a sense of urgency in his voice, "we should go. Now."
"I'm not so sure I want to go. I like the rain. It's clean. It's refreshing...." Zack's voice drifted off as he lay on the couch. He yawned and stretched as if to signal his annoyance with the current conversation.
"Are you kidding me? This is a major hurricane coming through, not some light summer shower. This is a dangerous place to be right now." Ryan's anxiousness at the storm and annoyance at Zack's flippant attitude shown clearly in his voice.
Zack's ears perked at the mention of danger, and he began to inwardly revel in the fact that he had annoyed Ryan to such a degree. "Is it? I don't think so. The storms never pass directly through this area, and even if this one does pass closer than normal, I want to be here to see it. It would be amazing to experience it first hand."
Ryan was aghast. "Why do you want to experience it first hand? These things can kill!"
"Whatever, dude, I'll be fine. It's not a big deal." Then Zack added facetiously, "Besides, I watched the movie Twister eleven times, so I know what to expect."
"Very funny." Ryan turned away from Zack and gazed back out the window. There were no signs of life, human or animal, outside. The few other inhabitants of the town had been evactuated the day before, and the animals had long since disappeared. He studied the wide, sweeping motion of the tree branches for several moments, and being the nature lover that he was, began to see the beauty in the windswept landscape. He permitted a single thought to enter his head. What would the storm look like this close?
He pondered on that thought. It intrigued him. After all he loved nature. It was a major part of his life. In some ways, it defined who he was. During the school year he was studying to become a botanist. He had grown up in the outdoors, camping and hiking with his father and the local Boy Scout troop. He never felt quite content unless he was out enjoying things that were not associated with a city or civilzation. He had seen great desert thunderstorms in the summer and has always been fascinated by their motion. He would watch, entranced, as the lightning danced across the landscape in it's chaotic and unpredictable patterns. He loved the torrential drench as the rain poured upon him and then would suddenly cease. The skies would open up and the sun would shine. All in a matter of minutes. Thunderstorms were beautiful.
After pondering the first thought, more thoughts entered his mind. The storms never pass directly through this area. They never have. Not in the 100-plus years that this area has had people living in it. Why would it this time? Why did all of the locals abandon the town every year during storm season if the storms never hit here directly? It did seem rather ridiculous to abandon your home every year only to come back and find it completely intact. Why did those people go through the same thing every year? Why didn't they just accept the fact that the storm never hits their town and just enjoy the fringes of it as it blew past? After all, it was rather magnificent to watch it through the window.
This all led up to a finality of thought in Ryan's mind. Why should he do the same as all the other people? He was his own person with his own destiny. He had a friend that was willing to stay, in fact, wanted to stay and see the storm. Why not stay?
He took a breath and said, "Maybe it would be okay to stay here and watch the storm. I mean, they never pass directly through here. We're probably seeing the worst of it right now anyway."
"Now that's what I like to hear! It's about time you did something adventurous with yourself," remarked Zack as he got up off the couch. He walked over to the window, looked out at the scene before him, put his hand on Ryan's shoulder and said, "Welcome to the world of not being boring all the time and taking a little risk."
The storm pressed on.