Tempestuous Rejuvenation

The first true storm intercept trip of the spring season can’t be matched for its sense of relief and release, even if temporary, from the frigid and dreary dungeon of winter. It is a door atop a stairwell leading upward from the catacombs, opening wide into the bright light of the dawn of storm season, another spring’s world of adventures, anticipations of travels yet to be determined.

Think of all the new sights, sounds and smells and combinations thereof, somewhere out there — who knows where? Isn’t that sort of uncertainty a fantastic thing in its own right, one of those far-too-uncommon unknowns that is to be anticipated instead of dreaded?

Moments of elation and frustration and boredom and excitement, impatient waiting followed by a frenzy of danger or beauty or some hybrid of both, all cobble together to form a big gift revealed and assembled one component at a time. Each chase day is another multi-hued piece that clips onto the one before, and in turn into the next, to form a truly unique whole kaleidoscope of learning, beauty and adventure, a storm season that never can be duplicated again in ten thousand lifetimes.

This isn’t just a chance to whisk away the mental cobwebs of a long offseason, shake off observational rust and test drive new equipment (if any), but also, to begin a season-long process of renewal and reinvigoration, all at the behest of every southerly surge of warm, moist return flow. Such rejuvenation has an uncertain duration, across still undetermined travels and parts unknown, dictated by the whims of the atmosphere. Its beginning, on the other hand, is definite and most welcome: storm chase trip number one. It is wanted, needed, and finally happening!

The inaugural chase of the new year begins against that backdrop. Heading out onto the highway amidst the mild southerly breezes, the promise of a new storm observing season begins to be fulfilled, with all that brings not only in anticipation and eagerness to experience whatever adventures that lie ahead, but also a sense of heading home. Yes, home. For the connoisseur at the smorgasbord of atmospheric violence, home is wherever the storms are.


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