Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Storm Breaks

It was early to sleep for the gardener last night. It was a pretty exhausting day, by the end of it and the weighty adventures of Ratty, Toad, Mole and Badger hit me square in the face (no worries though: paperback) around 8 p.m.

Around 10:30, I stirred to some distant sound and realized there was a noise behind the fizzly hum of the air conditioner, and I grabbed the camera and tripod and went to sit outside for a while. I was sort of fuzzy from the sleeping, and formerly, I'd have called on that nicodemon (so foolishly believing I had him on the leash) to bring me out of dozeyness. I set up the tripod and sat back for the show, which woke me up just fine, thanks.

It's an uncertain experience, anyway...the way the world is dark and nothing's recognizable. Because of the early dozing and distraction by other things, I'd not lit candles in the garden, so there was no light along the fence to orient by.

At first I felt a little teased, as the biggest, baddest part of the storm seemed to be north of us, and since the porch faces south, I only saw reflections of those on the houses across the street, but damn, it looked intense.

In a sudden flash, I spied the sunflowers, dancing on the wind gusts, daisies spattered with rain, then dark. A few seconds later, the brilliant deep purple-blue of the clematis is revealed and the red of the gloriosa daisies...and then blackness again.

Tendrils of electricity dance across the sky, turning everything purple-white. The rumbles of thunder occasionally roaring. The urgent rustling sound of the rain soaking the garden and the grass and the trees and the street.

Of course, some wonderful aspect of Murphy's law dictated that some of the best bits of visible lightning happened as I was shutting off the camera or just before I turned it on. But I still got some good glimpses of the experience. That they are screen caps from digital video means they don't enlarge very well.

But still.


Butch said...

Beautiful night pictures of the lightning. I have always loved to watch those storms. They are rare here in the northwest. The do occur but not like the mid-west and in the eastern states it seems.

Java said...

I love the purple sky. Even the lightning looks purple. Light purple lightning, dark purple clouds. Don't know if it looked so purple in real time, but that's what I see on my monitor.

Greg said...

Butch, there's something cathartic about being in the thick of one of these storms: the flash of fire, the roar of the thunderclap.

Java, it happens so fast in real time, I'm never entirely certain what I see. It was fun to have the video to look at, frame-by-frame in a few places, to see just how the lightning behaves in those split-seconds.

The purple was already there, tho I may have tweaked it up a degree or two, knowing my violet-loving audience as I do! ; )

RainforestRobin said...

Oh Greg, this is absolutely delightful. I LOVED this piece. Your writing here is EXCELLENT. I so enjoyed how you portrayed the flashes of sunflowers, clematis and gloriosa daisy...with each flash of lightening. Your words are like art in themselves....your ability to accurately describe a storm was thrilling.

I guess too that I have to admit that I LOVE LOVE LOVE storms. I want to be right in the midst of them...and have been many times in the tropics and in northern Maine. There is something not only exciting but rejuvenating or recharging about them. ....But then I've been hit by lightening twice...once where it almost knocked me to the ground and had some after effects for about a month. So as much I as I don't like it, I am a bit more careful now...but not a lot. LOL
You are SO ALIIIIVE that you got up to be with the storm. Good for you!

This site is so joyous and alive in itself...but then it is a reflection of you. A vibrant reflection of your garden, your soul and Live itself. Simply wonderful. And the photos are GREAT and the photo progression here is exciting in that you actually got some lighting zags across the sky. Very cool.

Curt Rogers said...

Wonderful! I wish so badly to have seen the garden during those brief, bright flashes. The colors and movement in the wind must have been astounding!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful captures, Greg! And again, your prose is so eloquently descriptive...."Tendrils of electricity dance across the sky,..." Thanks for the idea on capturing these "tendrils."

Greg said...

Robin, dear...struck by lightning TWICE!?!?! Oh, my! I'm glad you're more careful least some. But I do understand the temptation to witness it all. What power! Keeps us in our place, I think.

Curt, it really was pretty cool, the way the garden would suddenly appear out of the darkness with each brilliant flash, only then revealing the way the wind buffeted the sunflowers and daisies and all.

Afod, I'm excited that these came out so well. Until I can get a more complicated camera with slower exposure possibilities, this method works nicely for catching the show!

lostlandscape said...

Dang, I am so envious! I love electrical storms, even after missing getting zapped by a lightening bolt by twenty feet or so. And we haven't had anything looking like rain since February...