Monday, June 20, 2011


Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.
Mark Twain 

As I write this I am sitting at my desk watching a pretty incredible lightning storm.  I know, I'm taking my chances with my computer and I should be smart and not only turn it off, but unplug it as well, but I love to watch the lightning and I wanted to share the storm with you. 

Don't you love thunderstorms?  It's been such a warm and muggy day.  We all knew that the storms would come; we hoped the storms would come, and remove all the humidity from the air.  Actually, with the flooding of the Missouri River right here, all around us, we don't need any more water, but if you've never lived in the Midwest, you can't know the feeling of the air when it becomes so heavy with moisture that you hope and pray it will rain.  Then, if only for a little while, the air becomes lighter again and it's not quite so difficult to move and to breathe. 

You can see it building, watching the clouds grow taller and thicker.  As the storm gets closer you can see them change from puffy white clouds to gray clouds and then to thick dark clouds.  When they turn an ugly green color, it's time to start watching closely.  I prefer to watch the storms in the daytime, not night, simply because I like to watch all this happen.  After dark, all that you are able to see is the lightning.

virga and lightning

When my son was little, it was the thunder that scared him.  He always felt better when I reminded him that thunder was just two clouds bumping into each other and then yelling about it.  Once we talked about it, he could just relax and wait for the storm to pass.  He never realized that it was the lightning that could hurt.  We've been fortunate, we've never had a lightning strike too close to us.  Well, we had one hit the light pole outside our house when he was about eleven years old, but we've never had any damage from lightning. 

Like so many things, while it can be dangerous and must be respected, lightning is beautiful.  The power harnessed in a lightning strike can kill instantly.  Lightning is extremely hot—a flash can heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun’s surface. About 2,000 people are killed worldwide by lightning each year. Hundreds more survive strikes but suffer from a variety of lasting symptoms, including memory loss, dizziness, weakness, numbness, and other life-altering ailments.
Powerful!  Frightening!  Exhilarating!  Deadly!

Lightning is a release of energy.  It can reach from cloud to cloud, from cloud to ground, or from ground to cloud.  It is impossible to know where lightning will strike.  It reminds me of people and human relationships. 

lightning rains on Oklahoma City

When you put two people together you never know what will happen;  sometimes really beautiful things happen, sometimes really ugly things happen, but all reactions are powerful leaving everything around them changed forever.  

As I sit here and watch the rainwater run down the street and sidewalk in front of my house, I hear the hail hitting the roof, the flag pole and the sidewalk.  I know that this storm is marking my house and my yard.  Just like those people that pass through my life, it will leave things just a little different than they were a few minutes ago.  It might be yard will not grow dry; it might be could shatter a tree, like the one down the block that was split in the last storm, but it will be different. 

Isn't that one of life's greatest lessons?  To face the storms or the people, no matter what challenges they bring and move forward, learning lessons in the process.  And enjoy the beauty as it unfolds.
storm in red sunset

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