If you were terrified last night, you weren't alone. I was so scared my voice was quaking and I didn't even realize I was wheezing out every breath until my honey told me so afterward.

I live on an upper floor of a condo building in Southwest Lubbock, so we made the hard decision to pack up the pets and drive south out of the path of the storm. As we traveled I saw a tornado funnel form out of that massive, spinning storm cloud. I found myself living a recurring nightmare that most West Texans share. Who hasn't dreamed of tornados whisking us away?

Storms of this magnitude speak to us in an ancient, visceral, and instinctual way. Like cats, our hackles are thrown up and we just know in our bones that we are potentially in grave danger.

And yet, even in our most animal fear, we have to see it. We are lead to feel the electricity in the air. We must smell the atmosphere. It is our charge and our great pleasure to witness the storm. This doesn't make us stupid; this makes us human.

By definition, "sublime" just means that something is so beautiful it inspires us to awe. But in certain pockets of literature and art, the sublime also means that something terrifying can inspire awe and therefore beauty. Like the view from a steep precipice. Terror sharpens our senses, makes us feel alive, and opens us up to soak in the unbelievable beauty around us.

We saw bizarre and beautiful cloud formations we may never see again. Light bursting in directions that made no sense. Clouds demarked by color and shape with a logic beyond immediate human understanding.

We saw an enormous cloud wall that spun into dragons, human faces, animals, and other images we are ingrained to see. It's no wonder our ancestors believed in, worshipped, and feared gods of thunder and lightning.

As I saw infinite shades of blue, purple, pink, grey, and gold in the sky I was so happy to be alive. How magic it is to be witness to the unique phenomenon that is this planet, this universe, this experience.

And the absolute best part, the part I hold most dear, is that I shared this experience with my entire hometown. We will speak of this storm for years. When we dream of tornados, we will see that sky again, a sky hand-painted for us by God.

Tornado and Wall Cloud Pictures From Monday, May 17th, 2021

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