• Richard Duerksen

The Happy Storm


It was raining at our house when Brenda texted me to say there was a "beautiful rainbow" over the post office in town. There was no rainbow at our house, just rapidly-moving black clouds showing occasional patches of robin-egg blue sky.


Following a hopeful hunch (Maybe the Columbia Gorge will show a brilliant sunset!) I moved my cameras and tripod to the car and sped off on the 30-minute drive to the best place to view the gorge - the Portland Women's Forum Scenic Viewpoint. Less than a mile from our house the traffic stopped and I discovered I was car #17 behind a garbage truck that was emptying bins folks had left beside the road. The 30-minute drive was now destined to be a minimum of 45 minutes.


The driving lane I chose was invariably the slowest, and every light was red. It's now going to be at least a 60-minute drive, and I'll see only a few minutes of the sunset. "Probably ought to go home," I thought.


But once a photographer begins a journey there is some cosmic law that requires him to complete it.


The viewpoint was wrapped in dirty grey. I set up the tripod, took a couple "I was here" photos, and started to get back into the car. As I opened the door I noticed that the sun was attempting to blink through a passing storm cloud. I took both cameras and walked to the edge of the viewpoint, right where another photographer was baby-sitting his tripod-mounted Nikon.


"Hi," he said. "Frank."


"Dick," I answered. "From here?"


"Used to be. Nashville now. Been taking senior photos for my nephew today but decided to come out into the cold wind and rain. I'm hoping the sun will cast its beam right there at the building on Crown Point."


"Give it about 2 minutes," I responded. Hopefully.


Two minutes later the sun found a gap in the storm and shone directly at the Cliff House on Crown Point.


"How about adding some orange in the clouds?" Frank requested.


"Not sure that's possible," I said.


Then both of us reached for our camera shutters as the band of storm clouds stretching across the gorge grew orange and the thunderstorm behind them turned robin-egg blue.


"How about a rainbow?" Frank hoped aloud.


"Can't have it all," I mumbled above the clicks of my camera's motor drive.

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