On the Allure of Savage Storms

Those who know fellow storm connoisseur David Fogel also realize what an immensely talented and creative writer he is, able to weave grand quilts of colorful prose almost effortlessly, even in hurried bursts of spontaneous composition.

Recently DF and I were corresponding with eager anticipation about our annual vacation time to crisscross the Great Plains, in search of the alluring beauty of atmospheric violence. At one point I casually mentioned, “Storm observing and appreciation are in our life blood, a deeply ingrained purpose to our presence, an inseparable element of the very core of our souls, a passion without which our identities would be devoid of so much of their color and flavor.” This struck a match of expression on his part, which (with DF’s permission) I want to post verbatim here, since he does not have a BLOG of his own yet. His prose describes very nicely why we do what we do…


    Through the long months cold and dry and devoid of the truest infernos of our souls, we stare toward the spring with longing eyes dispossessed of their unique indulgence. When spring finally begins to peek over the fading gray of winter, that longing becomes a keen, restless focus. The sky, interminably cast in a frock of nothingness, again becomes littered with possibilities. Uninspired pancake clouds are chased from their listless roaming by the returning titans. Late afternoons begin to bristle with a frenzy that will not be held back. Then, when all that is so precariously contained can wait no longer to escape, the explosions are lit off.

    Upward the unfettered energy charges with the velocity of a climbing rocket. Soon there comes a great collision with that which cannot be penetrated. A sharp blade stabs across a great height, setting off, far below, a creeping stretch of shadow. Much lower, hovering just above shadow, lurks a swollen underbelly. A pregnancy that has taken but minutes to come to term. This is what our eyes have long awaited. There is a faint earthward slither, a tendril of indication that enkindles in the astute observer a wild abandon no more possible to restrain than this feast of ravenous eyes. Descent. Anticipation. Dust. The cycle is complete. A cliche is proven true: something went up, and something came down.

    We follow along, gorging ourselves on the savage beauty of it. A feast this plentiful is rare. One course after another. A cyclic indulgence. Even the growing embrace of darkness brings no end to this unusual gluttony. We drift in cautious pursuit as night takes hold, watching in amazement and fear as the mindless fiends, electrically-illuminated now, ghost across the near distance. High above, the full moon is blotted out by a marshmallow-thick dagger. Yet, enough of the lunar light filters through to brush each of us in a spectral white glow.


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