Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Storms Over Kansas

For once, when I talk about Kansas, I'm talking about the literal place and not the concept that is name of my book. Anyway, yesterday I flew from Grand Junction, to Salt Lake City and then onward to Saint Louis.

The flight from Salt Lake to home took off as the sun was starting to set and I spent the first hour engrossed in a book as well as playing games on my phone. Every so often I would glance outside and see a town we were passing and each time I looked out I was amazed at how bright the moon was.

As I was continuing reading I kept being distracted by some form of light outside but each time I looked outside I saw nothing and I kept thinking that it was the moon. Eventually, as I finished a chapter, I stared out towards the world and there it was, a brilliant flash of light. "What is that?" I asked to no one but myself aloud and then there it was again. And again! It took me a minute but then I realized it was a thunderstorm and I was seeing it from above.

My book and phone became irrelevant as I witness to this fantastic light show at 36,000 feet. Later, when I landed, I looked at a radar and figured that this storm I was watching was about 100 miles away and I wish I would have had a camera to capture just how amazing the scene was as the moon was reflecting off the wings, the stars were shining brightly in the sky, and out in the distance was this constant illumination of lightning.

I had once seen a thunderstorm at eye level back on July 3rd, 2000 when I was returning home from Alaska, but I didn't remember it to be so marvelously beautiful yet somewhat disconcerting. Perhaps it was because I was just 17 and had the worst case of insomnia, but yesterday I could not take my eyes off the light show.

The minutes passed and I kept looking from the front window to the window beside me and I was somewhat annoyed at how much light was on in the cabin as there was a horrible glare. Also, in the windows because of the reflections, I could see the person in front and behind me. The person behind me, who could see me peering out the window, kept trying to give signals that she did not like me looking out the window, but what I was amazed at was NO ONE else up and down the plane had even noticed, or rather cared to see, this amazing show nature was putting on.

Maybe it was that everyone had a good book, maybe it was that they never noticed, or perhaps it was that they simply didn't care, but as I raised my head up to look forward and as I stood to look behind me I was the only one to be looking outside. How was this? How often is it that you can see a thunderstorm at eye level and see every burst of lightning? This angered me, and I truly mean it. I wanted to yell, "Um, hey everyone! How about you all turn off the lights and look out the window!"

We continued onward and what was truly amazing was that, despite the full moon and the stars, it was so hard to distinguish an outline of the storm minus when there was a burst of white light within the storm; and the bursts were frequent as there was a flash every three seconds or so spread somewhere within this storm.

Eventually the storm went out of view behind me and no one else seemed to notice. It was as if that storm was putting on a show just for me and no one else cared or noticed. That's the way life usually is for me as I pick up on things most others won't see. Of course, I miss out on a bunch of social things other people pick up naturally, but I'm amazed I was the only one that was witness to this fantastic light show and I assure you that is one flight I won't soon forget where as everyone else probably had no idea on what they missed out on.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of "taking time to smell the roses" your personal motto could be "take time to watch the thunderstorm." I guess there could be many reasons why others didn't seem as enthralled with the majesty of nature as you were. Frequent flyers become very jaded and immune to the wonders of flying very quickly. Others may be nervous to fly and a thunderstorm may seem ominous instead of beautiful. The main thing is though, you saw it and you appreciated it.

    We were returning from Orlanda a day before your flight and as we were driving through the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee we drove right next to one of the most massive thunderheads I've ever witnessed. It was night time and you coudn't even get a scope of it's magnitude until the lightning flashed and you got a glimpse of how large it was. I can watch things like that for hours. It's a shame some people don't take time to watch the thunderstorms but I for one will always love to sit on the front porch and watch a storm roll in until the rain drives me inside.