Given enough time, everyone has seen something truly spectacular. A display painted on the face of the earth which would astonish any eye if the owner of it would stand still long enough to focus.
Those who notice these marvelous collaborations of God’s own handiwork are graced with something rare, and something perhaps never to be seen again. Some of them are fleeting. There for only a few moments and you are fortunate indeed if you are in the same place at the same time. This alone is a miracle in and of itself.
But then there are those you cannot avoid. You are forced to experience this anomaly in all its glory, waiting and wondering.
This past week I had the quite ordinary pleasure of experiencing a lightning storm. Ordinary because tens of thousands of other human beings also got to enjoy this spectacular display.
Its rarity in our part of the world is likely its most notable attribute, but you cannot deny the wonder and beauty of it.
For almost a half of an hour, lightning struck in such rapid succession that there was no pause in the thunder. And sometimes the claps were so loud you could feel them. It was late enough to be completely dark and heavy rain fell, intermingled with hail and snow.
It is an impressive sight to see nothing for a hundred feet all around and the suddenly have features you know so well to be lit with an astonishing white light. When rain, hail, and snow were falling the lightning made it seem as if each drop and flake was causing the illumination. Trees were lit so brightly the detail beyond the darkness was a shock. To see something in broad daylight has its own unique blend of colors and textures, but at night behind a flash of lightning, the colors are gone. Replaced instead with bright white and abysmal black.
It is times like these, an author has a beautiful opportunity. Something like this is the spice that flavors an author’s writings. Giving depth and credence to an otherwise common fact. To see a flash of lightning is something common, ordinary, plain. But when put into words on the pages of a book, surrounded by its story. Truth and clarity ring from the pages as if a bell struck inside the reader’s head.
How many times have you looked at a book and said, “I know what that is like.” Those little details that bring a smile to your face because you know someone else acknowledges the same things you do. It doesn’t matter if you credit the revelation to the character or to the author, it still resonates with you.
So don’t miss those spectacular moments. They can deepen your scene until your reader can taste the sulfur in the air and be blinded by the flash itself. But they exist everywhere. A seasonal waterfall carving down a cliff. A tree, fallen 50 years ago by a windstorm and now covered with moss.