The Ball of Lightning

*As it occurred last evening, I must immediately report one of the most unusual experiences of my life. This most recent amazing phenomenon ranks right up there with – 1. encountering a full-grown manatee in the open ocean and swimming along with it for a half hour and – 2. breakfasting in the deep wilderness of the “Five Ponds Area” of the upper Adirondacks and sitting stock still while a black bear entered our campsite, wandered about, and stayed for an extended period of time just a few feet from our table. During the height of last night’s high-powered thunderstorm, our farmhouse was struck with a shot of lightning that blew out some electrical equipment. This is not unusual. It seems our property has a long reputation as lightning prone. We’ve been hit directly five times in the past four years. Experiencing our home being struck by lightning is common. What happened last evening however, is apparently one of the rare events in human experience.Between two flashes of lightning perhaps five minutes apart, I happened to gaze out the window to view the downpour. At that moment a fiery ball of brilliant yellow moved across our front yard about 10 feet from the ground. The ball itself was somewhere between the size of a grapefruit and a soccer ball. I saw its tight spherical shape engulfed in a sort of plasma while a tapered tail of bright yellow flame trailed behind it for a distance of about twenty-five feet. It moved not so quickly as a bird might fly across the yard. It did not “streak” but simply moved deliberately at a sort of cruising speed. My companions saw it only indirectly but I eyed it thoroughly, completely, and totally. As I tried to come to terms with what I had just seen, I mentioned ball lightning – a rare and mysterious phenomenon I had read about some time ago. But my recollection was that ball lightning is so rarely seen that its very existence is in doubt.Today, I drew an image of the thing to illustrate and reaffirm exactly what I had experienced. Spurred on by the very strangeness of that image, I searched the Net for “Ball Lightning”. This is what I found.Additional images of types of Ball LightningThe images I discovered and have published here confirm what I saw and what I drew.I have always considered nature to be thoroughly “super-natural” – as opposed to, let’s say, conventionally natural. Nature is a unique momentous continuously unfathomable and ineffable occurrence. There are no instants in nature in which one can not find the deepest revelation. Occasionally however, nature stuns us with something so utterly astonishing that we’re forced to reconsider its vast magnificence, great splendor, and endless depth. And, awestruck and trembling, we comprehend that we, ourselves, are part of it.*USA Today story on Ball Lightning**Image 1: Ball LightningImage 2: My SketchImage 3: Ball Lightning detail

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