Last evening, the cold front that had stalled across the Plains for the past week finally pushed into central Missouri. Ahead of this front, a massive black fin stretched across the western sky, its clean, rounded edge pointed to the south. Branched lightening flashed across this ominous cloud, which was backlit by the setting sun; needless to say, it was a striking and spooky scenario.
I witnessed this spectacle as I travelled to the grocery store and noticed that other drivers were peering at the sky as well. Though our region is used to severe thunderstorms, this event was bringing people from their homes, their cameras trained on the other-worldly sky. Fortunately, for Columbia, the storm passed to our south and we only received showers that developed in its wake.
Such natural spectacles help us understand how early human societies, devoid of scientific knowledge, imagined that angry gods were responsible for these fear-inducing storms. Though we can now explain the natural phenomena that trigger such turbulent skies, the fear persists and many are reluctant to dismiss the notion of a vindictive God.