Stormy Notes

People who know me well – friends, family, a smattering of long time wordpress followers – all know my eyes light up at the slightest hint of inclement weather. I blame it on a lightning bolt  striking a tree next to our house. Not more than 7 or 8 years old – to this day I can effortlessly recall details as if watching a movie. Something happened the instant lightning bolt throttled our house. Waves of sonic energy, impossibly white light – both mediocre opening acts for the headlining electrical charge passing through my body. Every hair stood tall, proudly saluting  lightning bolt as my siblings shrieked in horror.

I didn’t want to stay in the house, need comforting, or understand why going outside was a bad idea. It wasn’t enough to hear the wind, I needed to feel it. Hail the size of marbles called my name, my Mother thought I was hysterical – she had that right. Attempting reason in the midst of extraordinary circumstances tends to make children a little high strung.

It didn’t really matter, I kept my mouth shut and nurtured the gift of weather. Before lightning bolt, weather consisted of simple one word descriptions – cloudy, sunny, hot, cold, windy – unimaginative, monochromatic characterizations lacking the vivid nuances lightning bolt kindly brought to my attention.

I found myself waking in the middle of the night, acutely aware of wind patterns, holding my breath, waiting for nature’s hush – that moment of utter stillness before a thunder storm. Before long,  my new found sky palette introduced colours intricately woven with purpose – no longer blue or gray; lightning bolt let me see hundreds of pigment variations, each with a mission I was beginning to understand.

I never talked about it, didn’t ponder the possibility it was all part of growing up, People would say “what a beautiful sunset” – I wanted to ask if they knew what it was saying. Birds warned me of approaching storms; rarely able to thank them before catching a nostril full of “storm air”. Above all, I lived for the thrill of electrical charges – those subtle moments imagining static electricity is responsible for goosebumps and my goofy grin.

In Havana a few years ago, tropical storm Emily passed over the city. I stood on the hotel roof deck, utterly mesmerized by funnel clouds lazily deciding where to touch down against a violent background of lightning. Aware on some level my hands gripped the railing in defiance of wind gusts, blinding rain and deafening thunder. I remember shouting, not registering it was directed at me until hotel staff literally pulled me from the roof. I sulked all the way to my room, arriving just in time to reach the window as lightning hit the building next door. Metal framed glasses in one hand – electricity traveled up my arm – it tingled for over an hour. Without question, one of my happiest days.

When I retire, nothing would suit me better than to be a storm chaser. Thank you lightning bolt. – Time lapse of a tree hit by lightning.

5 thoughts on “Stormy Notes

  1. Never been struck, but I am always amazed by the force of nature which I don’t fear. This is why I can relate to this.

  2. Wonderful! We won’t say that answers all the questions about your strange behavior, but it’s a start! 😀

    I was struck by the power of one statement having nothing to do with lighting:

    “Attempting reason in the midst of extraordinary circumstances tends to make children a little high strung.”

    Why is it that so few people grasp this? So little in this world truly is reasonable. We humans attempt to create our little fiefdoms of regularity when nature will have none of it! A friend who has been having problems with insects made a comment about being environmentally friendly — except in the concept in which she spoked she was bemoaning the fact that nature should be friendly — not that we should be mindful of our impact on our Mother. Truly, Momma Nature is never friendly to humans and if we don’t mind our P’s and Q’s she will, ultimately, wipe us off the face of Earth and replace us with…. ants…. or cockroaches…. or future dinosaurs — who knows….

    In the meantime — keep electrifying our days with delightful ponders.


    • Thanks Peter (I think – if strange means passionate, I’ll take it.)

      Nature can’t be stopped or bargained with. It makes no distinction between species or borders, is the one and only force capable of dramatically altering our lives, and sadly – the single most disregarded. Ancient cultures revered and worshiped a world that sustained them – modern culture exploits and destroys nature with a haughty arrogance that will surely bite us in the ass.

      • It does, and is.

        I agree so much, but frankly, people don’t really want to hear this… not most of them. Which I say because you don’t see any substantive changing of lifestyles for change. sigh.

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