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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lightning is beautiful

crack-BOOOOOM goes the dark sky. Something flashes out of the corner of my eye as I drive down the Kansas highway, the green covered rolling hills looking a bit greener than usual today. A heavy downpour coats the road and car, adding a film that makes everything look shiny and slick. Another flash - on the horizon, a bright, jagged spear is connecting the sky with the ground, pulsing momentarily before it is gone. crack-BOOOOOMmmmmm......

I stare at the space where the lightning was. Did it hit anything? Would there be disaster where it struck? Or was it harmless, passing through a rod connected to the ground?

The lightning itself is beautiful - dazzling white and yellow, with a hint of blue, against an outcropping of white clouds and grey skies. The sun has lost the day's battle and is retreating to return another day. Soon the lightning will have the skies all to itself, a pitch black canvas at which to brighten to nearly daylight, if only for mere moments.

I remember growing up and parking myself by the huge window, gazing outside to catch a glimpse of the bursts of light. I learned early that you count the seconds between flashes and the thunder to determine how far away the lightning was. Today, I was running from the torrential rains into a store and stopped to check out how bad it was getting. A huge flash was almost immediately followed by a tremendous, ear-splitting, chest-rattling thunder. Boy, was I glad I came out of that rain!

I guess in some ways I still want to be awed by nature and realize how little control we really have over the world. Lightning is certainly one way that does that for me. It is a powerful force that is only rivaled by the surface of the sun. But it's a beautiful thing, and I certainly look forward the next light show!

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