All hail the lightning

July 20, 2013 

By all the rules of the most ancient native lore, this week brings us to those dog days when the thunder moon, with rolling drums and sharp spears of flashing flame, takes command.

A good old-fashioned, mid-summer Carolina-type thunderstorm has been alleged to be capable of producing “over 136 different kinds of weather within 24 hours, including waterspouts, tornadoes, hail storm, hurricane, flood and gale.”

American natives spoke of these thunderous rumblings as the beating wings of restless and angry gods, when the beast of summer, sweating and sweltering, was in full command of the sun’s earth-basting warriors. Who could argue there are few things as awesome as when those fire-filled thunderheads of mid-summer arrive in full strength?

Rising columns of cooler air build massive white-topped turrets, filled with unquenchable fire and flame, displaying naked unchallenged displays of raw grandeur.

Last week has brought us to the height of summer’s heat, 14 3/4 hours between sunup and sundown, marked with the midnight hours well illuminated by a full moon, bright ’nuff to set the owls ’owling and the cottontails, clad in their fanciest of fur coats, to abandon frolicking.

Like serpents flickering forked tongues of flame, lightning bursts across restless offshore waters, soon followed by the crashing of heavenly artillery, bursting ear-splitting explosions, as loosed lightning bolts rattle window pane and shake chimney pots.

With these tree-shattering storms, dense sheets of rain and lightning move in silvered gray clouds, drowning any hint of a summer’s tranquility. It will require the retreat of another three-quarters of daylight hours before the fires of summer begin to show signs of abating. Meanwhile we best keep a wary eye turned toward those dark clouds rumbling in the west.

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