Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Light at Midnight

Wow, I just saw the most amazing thing. While driving home from my sister's apartment around midnight, I drove past the beach. I do that a lot at night when I'm on my way home from wherever I've been. The beach at night is peaceful, but in a dramatic way, and this beach in particular is never very crowded at night, and anyone who is there is usually just there to watch the waves and the sky and to smell the salt--which are the reasons I went tonight. While the weather has been beautiful all night, there were huge clouds and flashes of lightning out over the ocean, just above the horizon. It was one of the most profoundly beautiful things I've ever seen.

I stood there in silent awe for about twenty minutes, watching this show in the sky, the flashes of light that silhouetted the peaks and valleys of clouds, this manifestation of energy that exploded every few seconds and crackled across the sky. It was enormous, all of it, this whole scene, almost primal in that the earth was just doing its thing. Not necessarily trying to be beautiful for us humans watching from the beach, but just doing what it has been doing for billions of years without regard for me or any other living creature. The earth wasn't lighting up the sky, outlining a mountain range of clouds so that it would get a standing ovation from some audience or a the admiration of anyone or for any aesthetic reasons. The earth was doing this simply because that's what it does. This was pure power, inconsequential beauty.

I've seen lightning before. I've been on countless beaches. And I've spent lots of time watching the sky while zoning out into my own thoughts. But I've never before witnessed such an astounding combination of these things. Of course, the writer in me was conflicted: I instantly wanted to run home and put into words everything I was seeing before the exact images escaped my memory, but I also never wanted to leave, to stay all night and watch everything my eyes could absorb--so that I'd have even more to think and write about later on. As it turns out, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to describe those moments or what that lightning looked like and how it effected my thoughts and my soul, and maybe that's just as well. Maybe that's something just between me and this planet, a private moment. But even though I can't really find the words to describe the experience--at least not yet--I still wanted to say that I had an amazing few minutes tonight. I am perpetually bewildered...by everything.


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