I’m writing this (through the wonders of technology) 10km up in the sky, on a 737-800 that’s bearing me away on my holiday break from my home in Western Australia to the wilds of the continent’s interior, via Brisbane. Right now, I’d guess I’m approximately over the middle of South Australia, and I’m fortuitously seated next to the window gazing out northwards.
Why fortuitously, you ask? Because at this very moment, Nature is doing her best impersonation of the infamous “woman scorned”, out there not too far north of the plane. A magnificent electrical storm is stampeding across what I’d guess, without the benefit of any sense of scale because it’s the wee small hours of the morning, is a very large tract of land. I’ll confirm with my Dad tomorrow when we finally meet up, because he’ll have all the inside goss, but I’d say a big chunk of SA is flooding right now.
But as for me, I’m enjoying the show. It’s like having a great table at Douglas Adams’ famous fictional Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. Gigantic towers of clouds are periodically lit from within as though monumental celestial battles are raging inside them, and the lightning, from up here, seems to be striking the ground with vindictive savagery; from here, at this strange time of day, it’s difficult to believe that there’s a rational explanation for how, why and where lightning strikes. From here, it looks like nothing less than the vengeance of the gods.
It’s impossible to get pictures, unfortunately, but perhaps, if you let your imagination run wild for a little, you can feel a little of the exhilaration I’m feeling. I don’t think any photo could do justice to the moment that great cloud, heretofore invisible and unheeded, looms from the darkness as some agony of internal turmoil finds its release in that terrific, silent thunderclap.
We’re past the most intense of it for now, I think, and now I can see more weather glowing in flashes over the horizon to the north-east. I hope that it’s not too heavy upstream of or around Thargomindah, because being stuck there would be a bit of a setback. With luck, tomorrow night will see me tucked up in bed in the house where I spent much of my childhood. I’ll keep you all posted…