Lightning Scary

By their very nature, thunderstorms are rather frightening affairs. The lashing wind, the darkened skies, the crash of thunder – none of this is meant to inspire high confidence in anyone who might fear for their health. Thunderstorms can be exciting and interesting, sure, but don’t you dare try to test one by going outside, as nature will always win.

Despite all that, however, the most frightening and spectacular element of a thunderstorm is doubtless lightning. Generated by charges in the dark clouds hanging overhead, lightning can create some of the most fantastic visual displays known to man, manifesting in a variety of different forms: straight bolts that pierce the ground with incredible ferocity, chain lightning that crackles and forks as it descends, sheet lightning that lights up the clouds, even the elusive and sometimes debatable ball lightning that appears as small orbs that generate streaks of light. Lightning is nothing if not diverse, and beautiful in all its diversity.

Yet for all its beauty lightning brings with it incredible fright and a sense of danger, for not only is it sudden – it’s there one second and gone the next – it brings with it the mighty claps of sound known as thunder, generated by the sudden super heating of the air around a lightning bolt. It’s not a pleasant sound, and is more than enough to prick up the hair on anyone’s body. It also seems to herald doom, as thunder is a sign that lightning has struck somewhere… somewhere close… and will probably do so again.

But the display isn’t what makes lightning truly frightening. No, it’s the fact that this particular natural phenomenon can and will kill a person if given a chance, and can snuff out life in less than a second. Lightning is responsible for dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries each each year, and while that statistic may not stack up against, say, car crash fatalities or death from illness, it’s still an ominous notation. Lightning is to be avoided.

And the avoidance of lightning is perhaps the most frightening aspect of it all, for there’s nothing you can do save to huddle in your home, or another structure, and wait out the storm. You can’t thwart lightning; you can’t beat it back; you can’t simply dodge it. You just hide away and wait for the storm to end. Lightning brings with it a sense of booming hopelessness, of gods pounding on the sky with massive hammers. It brings with it a senseless, supernatural dread of the storm, and when something frightens your very nature and turns you back into a cowering animal, well, that’s pretty scary.

So enjoy lightning. Enjoy thunderstorms. Watch them from the safety of your home, and try not to flinch too much each time a bolt of lightning passes through the clouds or the thunder rumbles. Remind yourself that lightning is just the dissipation of a charge in the clouds above. But don’t try to mess with it, as lightning, just like nature, always wins.