Rain was in the forecast. But, when I left the VTS campus at lunchtime, the sun was still shining. It was early in the weekend and getting through check-in and security at Reagan National was eerily smooth, smooth enough that I had time for lunch.
From where I sat in Concourse C enjoying (get this) a grilled portabello mushroom sandwich with goat cheese and arugula (yum) I had a clear view to the north of the National Cathedral riding high on Mount Saint Alban. Also, to the north and in a wide swath of sky to the west and the east was the promised weather. Fascinating. The cathedral was in a mysterious state, its appearance changing as the minutes ticked by, the edifice brilliant, luminous against the nearly purple sky, details on its walls and towers distinct one moment, then nothing but a black silhouette the next when the skies brightened briefly behind it.
My flight was called about ten minutes late and our bus didn't quite make it to the plane before the deluge began. We stayed on the bus and the ground crew took to the luggage hold under the plane's left engine. In a lull we boarded the CRJ-200 and it only took until we were seated for the storm to begin in earnest. The airport closed; the rain came down in gusting sheets; the wind rocked the plane; the day grew dark enough for the street lights to come on; lightening and thunder were simultaneous and at times continuous. At just over an hour the plane was refueled, we were prepped for take off, the aircraft moved about 50 feet before the airport closed again for the storms part two.
In the end the delay lasted almost three hours, BUT the flight home was utterly spectacular. We "essed" our way through, around, among the storms, at one point seemingly almost at eye level with the top of a signature anvil-shaped cloud. I watched the tops and sides of big fluffy clouds the color of dirty snow roil, expanding up and out. Fortunately, I did not have a camera with me; I would absolutely have joined the ranks of cloud photographers!
Stiff and tired as I walked from baggage claim to the parking garage, the sight of the car was so welcome! And and home -- blessedly -- came into sight an hour later, Tal, Whitby and Belle at the car door before I could even put the car in park. Ahhhh ...