I Just Love Lightning. Watching Thunderstorms Is Better Than Viewing TV
While others like to watch TV or going to the movies, I prefer to sit on my porch and view the thunderheads that glow in the distance. Every summer, they form in the west. They’ll grow in size, growling and rumbling while crawling across the land. They threaten to devour everything in their path. It’s way better than television. More satisfying than any box-office hit at the cinema.
There’s something exciting about storms that draw me in. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s visceral. Primeval. My body wakes for them. I feel so alive when the sky grows thick, swelling with intensity.
There’s a tingle at the first sound of thunder. I’ll watch the column of cloud rise into the night sky, churning with sporadic flashes emanating from within it. I’ll stop everything and turn off all my house lights, pull up a chair and watch it do its thing. Nothing can drag me away from it. Nothing. When the lightning finally breaks through that wild Beast and then strikes the ground, my heart will race. Goosebumps form. A flush rises to my skin. That familiar crack always finishes me. I know I’m right where I have to be when the air thumps into my soul.
It’s entertainment but it’s not a show that’s scripted. There’s no choreography for it. The dialogue the storm speaks is universal. Mother Nature’s Beastly One talks in ways that go beyond speech. Like I said, it’s visceral.
I know thunderstorms. I used to photograph them. I wrote about them. When it came time to writing about one of them, I drew from personal experience. The sensations I get from watching a tropical thunderstorm do its thing were placed into my protagonist. What I saw, he sees. What I experienced, he experiences. My readers will enjoy what he feels when encountering the storm.
Storms aren’t all the same. I’m older and better traveled these days. I’ve seen a good cross-section of them. What one person says a storm is in their part of the their country, will be seen as nothing more than a good downpour somewhere else. Let me tell you, I must’ve grown up in the best area of the planet to experience the wildest and most destructive storms. Brisbane knows a good sub-tropical Beast when it comes. Fire and ice will fall in an hour and then leave without apologizing. Its attack will be short and sharp. It’ll pummel the city and then disappear without a trace. The sky will clear. Air will be as still as it was before it came. The only evidence that one ever existed is some saturated roads, and the stories told from those who survived the damage.
Small storms are the worse of all. A weather advice will be posted at 3pm and, by 5pm, residents will know its outcome. These storms have the shortest of fronts, briefest of lives. Just when you think you’ve got time to leave, it has already run out. Hail, lightning, destructive winds, flying debris, is ready to strike those who’ll make a bad decision to outrun a small storm.