Nature’s Pleasurable Terror at Big Blue Lake

I’m a lifelong weather enthusiast, catching the rain/wind/snow/sleet/hail/cloud bug in my earliest memories. The weather affliction deepened when I practiced forestry, which took me outside day after day. Outdoor-oriented avocation likewise immersed me in Nature. As a former, decades-long distance runner, I often braved (I considered it relished) what others consider adverse conditions. I pay attention to the weather — some might say I pay homage to it. You’ll see a weather theme often in my blogs. In part because I love it; also, because so many of Nature’s lessons can be illustrated through the vagaries and perturbations of weather… and their influence on our lives.

Saturday May 20, 2017, provided a perfect demonstration of Nature’s wild side right here at our home. We had enjoyed a warm early summer morning, working in our perennial beds, building a field-stone wall, and just relaxing. We had gone two weeks without measurable rain. The prior weekend’s promised showers and storms failed to develop. Mid afternoon this Saturday, a north-south cold front approaching from the west through Central Mississippi began to trigger a well-defined line of storms. My hopes for the rain strengthened. An hour later, a new thunderstorm cluster began developing east of the front equidistant from us as the front west of us. The front east-bound; the cluster north-bound. I watched all this transpire on Doppler radar. To my surprise and glee, the two coalesced over our vicinity.

By now, the National Weather Service (NWS) posted a severe thunderstorm warning for gusty winds and frequent lightning. The sky darkened; thunder rumbled. I caught the initial surge on video as the storm rolled across Big Blue Lake. My first book, Nature Based Leadership, includes essays chronicling my own experiences with what I refer to as pleasurable terror! This storm’s wind, frequent lightning, and heavy rain, I suppose, would have terrified some. I viewed it as welcome rain and a great show. I admit, however, to being glad to be sheltered in the doorway. My true pleasurable terror tales involved me one-on-one with the elements outside.

We have a tornado shelter, within which we have previously sought shelter when a more serious warning was issued. The NWS had made it clear all day that conditions were not right for generating tornadic cells. I felt little threat enjoying the display from the doorway leading out to our patio. My courage (some would suggest foolishness) derived from experience and knowledge. I judged the risk minimal. The return to my psyche far outweighed the downside. I would have paid good money to watch Nature’s beauty, awe, magic, and wonder at play… a show I viewed for free.

Every decision in our lives and enterprises entails risk/benefit assessment. Without experience and knowledge the zone of uncertainty can be wide — the gray area broad. Go or no-go? The more we know, the narrower the band. Preparation is key. Dividends flow from measured risk. Investment promises greater, more reliable return when we understand, appreciate, and anticipate outcomes. Excess caution and foolhardy action can both yield disappointment and poor results. My decision May 20 enabled me to witness (and marginally experience) Nature’s power and beauty on the wild side. The movie has not yet been made that satisfies, inspires, or moves me as that afternoon’s amazing alignment of forces.

I am grateful for every lesson that Nature teaches and inspires. Great Blue Heron strives to harness Nature’s wisdom in service to your life and enterprise!