24 August 2009

Silent lightning

At 5:30 this morning I found myself standing outdoors and noticed the flash of lightning in the sky behind a dense blanket of clouds. There was an abundant amount of electric activity and the lightning randomly illuminated the clouds as if they were decorated with twinkle lights. But there was no thunder. The silence somehow made the lightning fascinating, nonthreatening; a discharge of natural electricity a world away.

Once when I was a young girl I awoke late at night during a bizarre electrical storm. There was no rain or thunder, but silent lightning was virtually everywhere. As I stood at my window transfixed at the spectacle of the delicate shards of lightning bursting through the brittle air, my mother came into my room and gently ushered me back to bed.

Phenomena of nature never fail to capture our imagination. No matter how many times I have seen lightning before, it is a renewed wonder. Perhaps, because it is not man-made, our consciousness labels it extraordinary. Lightning cannot be recreated on demand: we must wait for the next natural occurrence. I believe I will never again witness an electrical storm like the one I saw as a youngster, but if I did, I would still be amazed and riveted to the captivating sight.

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