I seem to live in a place which quite often has electric storms. A couple of times at least during the summer I awake at night to find an eerily silent flickering across the sky. Naturally, I stay up to watch the free show: it's mostly sheet lightning of mainly yellow, white and orange hues, but I always watch out (and hope) for the more dramatic forked lightning stretching across the sky. Sometimes it might be accompanied by the tiniest rumble of thunder, indicating the storm has moved within hearing range. Thunder is usually heard when a storm is 30 miles away or less, lightning can be seen from up to 100 miles away.
To be able to watch a storm these days shows I've conquered a most primeval fear. As a child I was really frightened of them and hated to be left alone in the summer in case one arrived. If there was any chance of one, I'd head off to the nearest shopping centre to be held safe amongst a crowd of strangers. My fear wasn't helped by being made to stand sobbing with fright on a chair with my hands on my head during a particularly violent storm when I was at primary school.
Nowadays I love them for their beauty and awesome power and perhaps for the thrill of being close to danger, yet feeling safe. Sometimes when flying over the Alps I've looked out of the tiny window of my plane to see a number of storms brewing over the mountains. I see vast billowing cathedrals of cloud being lit dramatically from within. They serve to remind me what a tiny speck I am in the vastness of the world.
How's the weather with you today? This very instant a watery sun has just revealed itself after a morning of sleet and rain.
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