No matter where in the world I find myself, thunderstorms have always comforted me. They were not something to fear, but something that brought peace and comfort.

Where I come from, storms are long, heavy affairs that sometimes carry on for many hours. Thunder rolls for miles, echoing through the valleys and peaks like great drums heard from a long distance. The drops of rain are usually huge, washing away things both physical and metaphorical in seconds. The temperature of the wind depends on the season or the approaching one. Late summer storms are always chilling despite the heat of the day, with icy rain and cool breezes. The rhythm and deep bass of the thunder, the staccato dripping, the wind howling a haunting melody. There is a comfort in this symphony like no other. Perhaps inner peace is easier to find when the raging storm exists outside.

In my writing, storms have never represented something dark to come. They might be turning points, but it is a turning point of clarity for the main character rather than a foreboding symbol. A time to realize a true purpose, or discover the way forward against impossible odds, or simply a symbol of hope.

This feat of nature, an incredible display of its power, can come with destruction. I know as well as anyone exactly how devastating a storm can be. I have rolled up my sleeves and tried to restore a countryside shredded by tornadoes more than once. I’ve picked up the pieces after hurricanes. But storms are more than just destruction. They are renewal, and hope, and peace. You cannot doubt your place in the world when faced with such power. You are but one small, person standing before something far greater than yourself.

It is just you, as a human,  a massive natural phenomenon and realizing how lucky you are to bear witness that exact moment in time. Of all people in the world, you got to see this. A bolt of lightning that could power a city harmlessly hitting the ground. Thunder loud enough to break glass rolling through the hills softly. Rain that can overwhelm a city’s drainage system and flood it, trapping people in homes and businesses for days washing over you in a gentle shower. Erasing fears, worries. Stress. Anxiety. Problems. All gone in a single flash of light. Reality returns slowly.

For a few brief minutes, the calm and awe stay with you. The storm passes, and silence falls once again. But this silence does not fill you with dread. It is the weight of a favorite blanket, rather than the oppressive weight of too much responsibility. The silence walks hand-in-hand with clarity, a lone candle in a dim room.

The world has righted itself after such rage and intensity, leaving only peace in its wake.

Despite the storm, life goes on. There is no thought more comforting than that.

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