Do you like thunder?
Reading time 4 minutes
Let me tell you a story about thunder.
It was a dark and stormy night. Boarding a Flixbus from Budapest I was to spend 13 hours traveling to the Croatia’s coastal city of Split. After finding myself a seat from the second floor of the bus, I hooked up my earbuds and started listening to Pendulum’s old album Hold Your Color. I thought it’d ease my transition from being awake to a nice REM-sleep. The bus is dimly-lit and raindrops pace the drum ‘n’ bass playing on Spotify. Before I get a chance to close my eyes, the sky is torn in half by a huge, white lightning bolt. I’m captivated by the sound and light created by it.
The bolts keep appearing in the distance regularly. I determine the storm to be nearby, but not right upon us. I’d be safe to enjoy Mother Nature’s show of strength safely behind the bus’s safety glass windows. For whatever reason, the storm is making myself comfortable – feeling like home. My mind is amazed that something could make everything look like daylight for a split-second in the middle of the night. I try to grab a Snapchat-video, but it really doesn’t captivate the feeling I was hoping for.
Next to me sits a girl from Australia. Instead of being captivated by the spurts of electricity in it’s raw form, she’s trying to view it in the form of a Netflix show. Thanks to the poor Wi-Fi she is more frustrated than relaxed by the lack of pixel movement on her smartphone screen. I also feel frustrated for her, but realize maybe she doesn’t enjoy the thunder as much as I do.
I start to think, why do thunderstorms make me feel this way? Why are they so cool to me? I start to jot down my thoughts about thunder on my phone. Of course, they are very powerful. The sheer amount of sound and light created is fascinating. After another moment of staring at the flashes of lights my mind is flooded by childhood memories.
I remember the stormy nights spent in my childhood home. I remember my mother telling me to shut down everything electronic. I remember my rushed feeling when I ran to turn off my Playstation console. I remember the usually familiar dark rooms and corridors which looked strange to me now that they were filled with shadow instead of light. I remember my mother lighting candles which warmly lit those previously dark rooms. I remember the specific shadowy shapes cast by our living room furniture. I remember the sudden need to empty our freezer of anything that might be ruined after thawing.
I remember a specific night in my hometown of Kuopio. It was thundering outside. Being bored and without TV I couldn’t think of anything else than to stare at the thunder through the rain drops surrounding our house. I remember my mother telling me that I could count the time between the flash and the bang to determine the distance between us and the lightning bolt. She told me to count out loud the time as elephants: “one elephant, two elephants, three elephants…” And that each elephant would equal to one kilometer and that thunder less than 2 km away is something to be concerned about.
After writing this post on that stormy night bus trip the Australian girl takes a glance at the thunder’s still roaring all around us. She then takes a second and a third glance, after which she puts down her phone and grabs her GoPro. She places it on the window sill and starts to film the same thunderstorm I was so captivated by. Maybe she does like thunder after all. Maybe she too shares positive memories about them.
Later during the trip we get into a conversation. I ask her about it and she tells me she loves thunder as well. I ask her why and she tells me “I think its crazy that it can happen in the first place – just so much electricity.” Funny – that’s what I thought.
Instead of sleeping on this 12 hour bus trip I’m inspired to write about thunderstorms. As I’m typing down these words on my OnePlus with a cracked screen protector, I’m reminded by the fact that our planet is a living and breathing thing. Nature is all around us, inviting us in and sometimes trying to scare us. The rain alone could obviously ruin someone’s day and a single lightning bolt an entire life. At any time a supervolcano could erupt and wipe out half of all living creatures on our plant. We have already received a grim reminder of nature’s fury in the form of hurricanes.
This bus trip reminded me that there’s more to life than just screens, social media and work. Instead of connecting to this Australian girl on Facebook, a bolt of lightning brought us together.
Hey Australian girl. I don’t know your name but I want to thank you for sharing your love of thunder with me.
PS. Here’s a song I listened to while writing this – I think you’d enjoy it. Netsky – Thunder