Listening to Thunder (as)

A couple of nights ago I had the dubious pleasure of a musical performance at 4 a.m. in the morning, awake when ought to have been sleeping, roused precisely by the auditory phenomenon that captured my attention. A system of several gigantic thunderstorms, larger than any I’d ever experienced my life, trundled over and around Dresden for about a half an hour bringing with them an unignorable musical event. The sheer volume of each thunderclap was such that I felt it not only in my “ears” (whatever that means) but also in my head, my chest, my whole body. Both like and unlike standing right next to a subwoofer in a nightclub or at a mid-sized music venue, I was captivated by the magnitude of each successive thunderclap. Each strike had its own unique pattern of attack, sustain, decay and release, and each clap played a part in a dramatic developmental process, the progress of the storm as a whole. Counting the seconds that elapsed between lightning flashes (which began to take on a peculiar rhythm of their own) to determine the path of the storm became a meaningful process of analysis. Tracking exactly those intervals engendered tension, release, expectation. The storm, which seemed at one point to wane completely, returned with an almighty clap of theretofore unheard magintude. And in the silence afterwards, something had changed. If that wasn’t music, I’m not sure what is.