Monday, August 27, 2007

Krakatoa and the Mysteries of Nature

by Julia Buckley

In a stunning reminder not only that the most deeply affecting mysteries are often the mysteries of Nature and when it will show its wrath, On This Day tells me that this is the 124th anniversary of the eruption of Krakatoa; the tidal waves which resulted claimed more than 36,000 lives on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. The Tsunami's recent devastation is what we remember, but these long-ago tragedies are a good reminder that Nature is timeless in its power for destruction.

We have learned that on a smaller but sometimes frightening scale here in Chicagoland this week. The storms have been relentless and wrathful, and they put me in mind of Greek mythology and the vengeance of angry gods. Our town is still cleaning up giant tree branches (and, in many cases, entire trees) and fixing downed traffic lights. I'm relieved to say we kept the one tree we have and our roof remains intact, but many of my friends are still without electrical power. No matter how modern we think we are, Nature will inevitably reduce us to the elemental, at least for a time.

So, when pondering life's mysteries, I have realized once again that Nature holds the trump card, and all we can really do is appreciate the raw loveliness of even the wildest storm. Sometimes even destruction can be beautiful, and its advent will always be a mystery.

(Image can be found here).


Sandra Parshall said...

Julia, I've watched the news about the midwest storms with a sense of dread -- why do I get the feeling that I'm looking at the future for all of us? Wretched heat, drought, devastating storms, fires consuming half of Greece... I am not optimistic about the years ahead. For now, though, I'm happy that your family has come through unharmed.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Sandra. Our little suburb actually wasn't the worst; some of the big cells went right around us but really hit places as close as five minutes away.

I certainly haven't seen a storm like this since we moved into this house in 1988.