Thunderstorms From 40,000ft

Thunderstorms From An Airplane

Sometimes when technology fails you, nature has a way of reminding us what is truly beautiful. That is how I came to feel on one of those flights where one wishes they were anywhere else.

Normally I like flying. I'm almost never nervous, I sleep with ease and I relish the hours of uninterrupted film watching or blog post writing (usually both) as I stretch out, with the comfort I have learnt to provide myself. 

This flight, however, was two and a half hours delayed, one of which was on the runway. I was on the way to Costa Rica to meet Andres' family, a fact I was already nervous about, and now I would be late, arriving at 11pm their time and 1am mine, and feeling extremely anxious about possible plane failures mid-air. There was no food, no entertainment, and yet despite the most boring five hour stretch I could not sleep. So for a large part of it I stared out the window at the moon, appreciating the beauty of it rising above the clouds casting a dull and comforting glow. As we neared midnight a flash of light caught my eye.

I had never before even thought it possible to fly over a thunderstorm, and yet here I was, in an irritable daze, watching yellow spikes illuminate the dark clouds below the wing. As I stared out the window I felt a strange sense of calm, all previous grievances lost in the rare, remarkable act that I was witnessing. Around me the passengers slept, and it was the first time that night that I considered that maybe I was luckier than I had perhaps realised.

Life has a funny way of making us reconsider our fortunes if we allow it to. If I had been distracted by the screen I so desired, or drifting into sleep, then I would never have been aware of what a thunderstorm at 40,000 feet looks like. So next time you're feeling like the world is working against you, look out the window at it and you may just be surprised.