Lightning over Mule Mountains
There is the world. Every day we rush through it in a circular race to nowhere, while all around us, unfolding like a million miracles, nature screams for us to stop and look at her wonder. One of the greatest joys of having moved from the northeast, with its turbocharged pace, to this arid high desert, is the ability to see stop more often to see Gods wonder around me. It is in this place, this arid desert, that I have found a beauty that is sublime in its grace.
There are the flaxen fields, whose windswept motion makes them seem like landlocked oceans, that stretch for miles before striking distant mountain shorelines. There are the mountains; not the continent traversing mammoths of the Rockies, not the coastal crags of the Appalachian range, or the rolling blues below them. No, these mountains are islands, improbably jutting from the earth with no rhythm or symmetry, like stepstools to the typically tranquil crystal blue skies. Skies that, for most of the year remain unadorned, allowing sunrises and sunsets to paint the horizon in hues of purple and pink. Every day there is a breeze. Every day there is sunshine. It is paradise.
Yet even paradise must pay the price for its existence. Even the desert needs water to survive. So for two months each year, on an almost daily basis, paradises thirst is quenched by violent squalls of torrential rains from bloated clouds filled with spectacular lightning. Until tonight I had only just heard about the wonder of these storms. Until tonight I had not experienced their greatness.
As I stood in the field in front of my house I watched, transfixed and awed, by the display of power unleashed by the sky. I had never seen a storm like this. A storm that stalled for over an hour on top of the Mule Mountains emitting a steady stream of lightning that surpassed any July 4th show. It was glorious and yes, even in its violence, it was paradise.
This is the first "real" lightning photograph I have taken. I have captured an occasional flash, but never have I been ready with a camera to bear witness to the awesome power of Gods fireworks. I hope to have many more experiences to stand as scribe to this incredible phenomena. This shot is a single, four-minute exposure that captured five flashes of light over the Mule Mountains and Naco.
Keywords: Arizona, Desert, High, landscapes, Lightning, Nightscape
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