Unlike a lot of people who don’t care much for bad weather, I’m not particularly bothered. In fact when I think about it I prefer it when the weather’s really, really bad. When it’s just miserable then that’s no good to me at all, being neither one thing or the other…the weather I look forward to the most is a massive thunder storm resplendent with sheet lightning arcing across the heavens.
I can sit and stare for hours at big storms – there’s something about thunderstorms, their sheer power, the way the air feels charged and then there’s the noise, the not so delicate sound of thunder – Spinal Tap turning it up to 11 doesn’t even get close.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are big storms the cyclones / hurricanes that cause immeasurable damage to people and their property and wouldn’t ever want to have anyone, most of all those I care about, in harm’s way; but I’ve often watched Storm Chaser documentaries and thought WOW what a rush that must be to be that close to something so awesome.
The best storm I ever witnessed was in Florida. It was off the Keys near Miami and no danger as it was well out to sea. The clouds were illuminated, it was like watching the inside of a kaleidoscope – their ever-changing colours caused by the sun as it sank down towards the horizon, the clouds themselves being buffeted by the storm raging inside them as if it were trying to prevent the sunset. The nearest I can describe it is if you imagine a pimped up version of the Northern Lights (Southern Lights to the Antipodeans) but playing alongside, a soundtrack that Dante’s Inferno would have been proud of and recording the event for posterity, flash photography from a gathering of the whole world’s paparazzi taking pictures.
As the sun finally sank below the horizon the light changed once more. Sheet lightning was interspersed with fork lightning hitting the islands way offshore – it went almost pitch black before the light became so bright it was if a flashbulb had gone off inches from my eyes. I stood there and counted…One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three…, Four…, Five Mississippi before ‘BANG !’ the wall of noise created by the most recent thunder-clap almost shattered my eardrums. It wasn’t long before the next, then the next and so on for nearly an hour before finally the noise abated and the calm returned.
It was truly breathtaking …it was wonderful…it was the ‘Perfect Storm’.