Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don’t Count on It

From last week’s post we learned about a special light show that occurs over the Catatumbo River and Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, South America.  For centuries, people living near these two bodies of water have experienced over 150 lightning storms per year with each event lasting about 10 hours per night. If you researched this unusual weather, then you know the prior post skipped over an interesting tidbit.
Are you ready for this? Between January and April of 2010, the lightning ceased. We’re talking nothing, nada. Incredible! I can imagine puzzled people peeking outdoors and searching the night sky for a tiny sign of “normalcy.” Scientists offer differing theories for the lightning’s presence and its temporary absence. Some experts believe geography and gases from the surrounding waters cause the lightning so when the lake and river dried up due to drought, the gases also disappeared—no gas, no lightning. Let’s visit Venezuela to hear what the local people think.   

Was it more startling to learn that this lightning show has existed for centuries or to hear that it stopped?  Do you think people in this part of Venezuela have expressions based on their lightning? For instance, we might say, “As sure as day follows night, I’ll return,” but people living near the Catatumbo phenomenon might say, “As sure as the lightning comes, I’ll return.” Some things you can count on and other things you thought you could count on. After all these years, even Catatumbo lightning is undependable.
In our culture where people, places and things change at lightning speed, who or what can you depend on?

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