Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lightning Strikes

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.

Tonight the sky is growling. Beneath the blackened heavens a finicky breeze rattles the maple leaves and makes the pine boughs groan. A scent of rain rides the whiffs.

Without warning this darkness is penetrated by fingers of ghostly white. They grasp at the earth, its treetops and its mountainsides, ever so lightly before withdrawing into the night. Moments later, thunder rumbles.

Lightning is one of the most dramatic, uncontrollable and dangerous acts of God. A hundred times each second bolts of lightning connect with the Earth. Where they will strike, no one can say. But aside from floods, no other natural phenomenon claims as many lives or causes as much damage.

Each year about this time we hear the stories of people killed, survivors wounded and fires started by lightning. Like the teenage boy I read about who was struck while watching a baseball game. The lightning shredded his clothing, ruptured his eardrums and burned his skin, but he survived.

A man playing cricket in Kansas City, Missouri, the same week was not so lucky. The 33-year-old victim was standing in an open area far from any trees when the bolt struck him down. At 6 feet 3 inches, he was the tallest person on the field at the time.

Continued at... Lightning Strikes