Thursday, May 29, 2014


Thunderhead, Strong City, KS

On a hot and humid summer's day in central Kansas, the awesome manifestation of the plains Indians’ Great Sky Spirit looms ominously on the southern horizon. These are spectacular days with gusting southerly winds and bright sunshine, inevitably giving way to dark and threatening skies. Walking those vast plains, I came to be impressed by the magnificent beauty and fury of the churning, bucking bronco, building mounds of moisture laden thunderheads as they geared up for another grand performance.

Later in life, I experienced these towering clouds up close and personal in corporate and commercial jets as pilots cautiously wove around the intense turbulence contained within these marvels of the skies. Magnificent one-of-a-kind ethereal spirits rapidly take shape in the skies above at a moment’s notice out of seemingly nothing and they can billow up to thirteen miles in height.

The native Indians were wise to associate these summer storms with the growing season and the winds that could shake the tall corn stalks up towards the heavens. I’ve been fascinated by these natives all of my life because I believe they lived a harsh but harmonious life directly out in God’s creation every day of their lives. They were convinced of the existence of a Great Spirit and the sacredness of the earth. When we’re out in God’s creation and enjoying the experience of the life He has given to us, we can begin to feel His presence.

The world’s farmers also live close to the earth and sky. Nature’s ever changing moods leave them exposed to constant challenges to successfully bring in their crops. Consequently, I’ve never had a conversation with any of them that didn’t somehow involve the weather. The life-giving rains produced by the towering sky sculptures of an impending storm are critical. So they’re always alert to any change in the wind and skies, especially the formation of towering, moisture laden thunderheads. A friend here in the Carolina’s grew up on a farm and fondly noted that his father always had a favorite expression when the storms were forming; “Look out, it’s commin’ up a cloud”!

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