Great Stories From Field & Stream Writers: 'Awestruck' by Dusan Smetana

We were in South Dakota, hunting pheasants and Hun­garian partridge. The sky was overcast, and as the afternoon wore on we saw prairie lightning in the distance. Black clouds roiled toward us across darkening plains. Sheets of rain were slanting low and electricity hung in the air. "Time to get back," one of my friends said. I gauged the movement of the clouds and sun, and the photographer-dictator in me came out. "No, not possible!" I shouted. "We're staying!"

The rain swept toward us and so did the light, illuminating every drop. It created this towering double rainbow. We stood underneath it and were engulfed in repeats of thunder--and after each crack came this new disembodied, magical sound in response. At first none of us knew what this sound was or where it was coming from, but as we stood there we realized that hundreds of unseen rooster pheasants were answering the thunder. We were frozen; delighted in the moment, feeling that this might never come in our lives again.