This morning we had a whopping thunderstorm. At one point, the sky turned black as a moonless night. I was about to eat breakfast, but I rushed to my office instead. Just as I clicked on “shutdown,” thunder BOOMED nearby, a frizzle emanated from the computer, and the electricity went out all over the neighborhood. Uh oh, I thought, feeling my way down the dark hall to where the flashlights were. I found one that worked and started lighting candles. By the time I finished my still warm eggs and potato pancake, the sky was lightening up. Twenty minutes later, as rain poured down, I blew out the candles, though the electricity had yet to return. (Obviously, since you’re reading this, the power was restored.)
Mother Nature is extraordinary, and we creatures of earth are merely inconsequential pawns in her game of life. Whether it’s lightning, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, or earthquakes we have no control. With lots of warning, we can prepare for rivers rising and windows blowing out. Most of the time, we know when there will be possibilities for lightning, tornadoes, hail, or torrential rain and can take cover. Live volcanoes usually give off signs of possible eruptions – communities just need to heed them. But major earthquakes – BAM! – they occur with little or no warnings. Will scientists, in our lifetime, ever be able to accurately predict deadly plate shifts? Doubtful.
When we lived in Ben Lomond, CA, amid the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, there were constant tremors. Almost every night, as I was falling asleep, I would feel the ground vibrate up through the floor and the bed and into my bones for up to thirty seconds. Occasionally, a bigger one would wake us, and a couple times there were stronger ones that had us standing in doorways. Tremors became a fact of life, and I almost got used to them.
Earth’s weather systems and underlying continental movements always cause me to think about how ancient “civilizations” used to believe these occurrences were signs from disapproving, punishing gods. Back then, ignorance was deadly, resulting in human sacrifices. Later on, plagues, fires, famines, etc. would be blamed on heretics and “witches,” who would be rounded up, tortured, and hanged or burned at the stake. Through the ages, religion and misfortune created hatred, intolerance, injustice, and inequality. Those in power took advantage of the uneducated/downtrodden and manipulated the heck out of them. Unfortunately, not much has changed. Maybe by 2050? 2147? 2300? Never?
However, regardless what people do or don’t do, weather and natural disasters will continue to amaze, scare, and devastate us.