This last Saturday night, 4 th of July, I spent sitting on my front porch appreciating the copious displays of personal fireworks from all over my neighborhood. The experience, brought to mind, many a magnificent display I have been privileged to observe over the years past. Displays not of fireworks in the true definition, but light shows unparalleled by any of a man made origin. I’m speaking of Mother natures breathtaking displays we know as thunderstorms.
One in particular, stands out vibrant and fresh in my memory. Thunder storms in the mountains of Colorado, many times are “dry” lightning storms because there is no rain that follows their passing. I was in the mountains near Jefferson, Co. when the storm approached from the south. Lighting the horizon with distant flashes, vague and obtuse at first, then strengthening as they neared. Intermittent and momentous light, diffusely backlighting the darkness of the horizon along mountain ranges, tall and proud.
I located a prominent overlook on the road leading up to Georgia Pass. A place where I could have a good view of the show soon to be displayed before me in all it’s brilliance. I watched as the storm seemingly gained strength, but in reality it simply got closer and closer. As the storm passed over the distant mountain range, lightening became more defined and
effulgent. Jagged flashed of light following a fractured and sporadic path in the dark night sky. Like sparks of electricity traveling along hidden circuits in the sky, jumping and arching from contact to contact.
Lightning strikes of varying intensity, bathing the landscape in resplendent, sterling, brilliance for miniscule factions of time. A flash of light here, a phosphorescent glare there. Outlines of the trees, rocks, terrain and mountain features vibrant and sharp, then an all encompassing, obsidian darkness. Bolts of stark, bright, light dancing their way across the night sky, fracturing, then joining again. Careening along the horizon, building a sharp zigzagging pattern.
Soon, the a distant rumbling sound, deep with base, resonates across the mountain plains. The ground slightly vibrating, trembling with a faint unquenchable energy. Seemingly a charge of electricity permeating the air, my hair feeling as if it’s standing on end. Goose bumps encompassing my skin, traveling up from the feet to my hands and neck. Excitement and anticipation infiltrating my consciousness, sneaking into every nook and cranny of my awareness.
The storm and lightshow, becoming even more vibrant and powerful the closer it gets. With each passing mile, gaining a force incomparable, exhaustive, and resolute in its power. The phantasms, clearer, sharper, more luminescent with each flash. The thunderous roar, and sharp booming explosions of sound increasing in volume, clamorous, turbulent, resounding. The beauty and elegance of the visual display, a form of artistry itself. The accompaniment thunder, adding a melody, beat, or rhythm to the performance. The total, replete, power of the storm, intimidating and consummate in itself.
A feeling of respect and appreciation fills my spirit as the storm passes over, and slowly marches to another horizon. Destined to continue its course, playing out the bright pantomime of it’s existence for many others to appreciate.
About a year ago, I wrote a very short fictional story about this particular storm. You can find it on Ruminations of a Small Town Mountain Boy, it’s titled Light Show if you so chose.