Attraction to Natural Disasters

Cascade VolcanoesI may offend or disturb some people, but that really isn’t my intention.  I have always found natural disasters to be terrifying, but also exciting and enlightening — an awakening from an unconscious state to an intense short-lived glimpse into reality.  I have experienced several large earthquakes when I lived in California as well as some violent storms when I resided in Florida.  I was terrified, of course, but I also felt like the events had shaken me from a long drowsy state of being that tends to assume our planet is a peaceful place built just for us.

Mt. Saint HelensNatural disasters, whether it be an earthquake, a tsunami, a hurricane, a tornado, or a volcanic eruption, reminds us that the planet and the universe is a very chaotic, powerful enigma that continually changes without regard to our existence.  Although we have five senses and we have learned a great deal about the nature of the earth and the universe at large, we rarely comprehend what it means.  We can’t feel or sense the huge chunks of continents we are standing on move…they are all moving right now.  We can’t feel the intense heat at the center of the earth that is driving these continents to move.  We can’t feel the earth free-falling through space at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.  We can’t comprehend the enormity and complexity of forces that combine to form a massive energetic hurricane.

Mt. St. Helens ErruptionThe forces of the earth and the universe are obscure to our senses and work on a much grander time scale compared to our internal and man-made clock.  We are insulated from what is really going on all around us.  It is only now and again, through the terror of a natural disaster, that we get a sense or a glimpse into the power of creation and its counterpart, destruction.  One of my favorite photographic subjects in the Northwest is the Cascade volcanoes — Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Baker.    These land forms are so impressive relative to the surrounding landscape — they stand out like alien beacons to signal that there is something mysterious at work…a secret…a gateway to comprehending reality.  They provide so much majestic beauty — from the towering glaciated peaks, down through the abundant pines, rush rivers that fill up lakes or replenish the ocean.  So much wildlife thrives around these imposing giants — yet in an instant, these masses of swelling rock and ice can violently explode and wipe out everything around the perimeter.  Incredible powers of creation and destruction, a process that repeats over and over again on earth and throughout the universe — this is a piece of reality.

11 thoughts on “Attraction to Natural Disasters

  1. The awakening from that drowsy state of being as you said is something that I’m also attracted to in some ways. I think even in my sometimes excessive fears about things, like getting hit by cars or storms or whatever, is this way that my subconscious has of nudging me and saying “Yeah, see, you could have your whole world put upside down in one instant. All that person would have to do is slam on their gas pedal without looking. So don’t be numb, drowsy, aloof. Love this, live it, be awake. Life is grand just as it is without anything special.” and I am really starting to wake up to that feeling of “being here” that those fears of destruction can awaken in me. It’s really cool! And a looming natural disaster or big piece of nature like a volcano does a similar thing- watching the steam rise from the volcano in Hawaii for a few weeks really did wonders for my sense of how big this planet we sit on top of is…and how alive.

    • Thanks for your comment and its content. You know…I was just thinking…that I missed something in this post but I can cover it here. Just as a natural disaster can jar our senses into reality…so can the appreciation of beauty itself…that which was created from the never ending process of destruction and creation. Natural beauty is there all the time…constantly changing moods…one just has to look for it and be aware of it…not shut up in a house watching the television or staring at a computer all day…

      • That’s a good point! The sunset or sunrise can sometimes have such that similar feeling, and I think that for me at least, part of that potency is the same feeling of impermanence. This sense of “woah, what a cool sunset. It’s only going to happen once. I wonder how many sunsets I’ll see in my short little life on this really cool planet..” and stuff like’s so fun to think about all the ways of waking up!

  2. Oh how educating, awakening and revealing revealing your simple concept is.
    I have just been pondering about what life is all about. There is pleasure, there is pain, some people live and some others die. What is the point of the struggle for survival and the competition to out possess or outshine one another, when death levels everything?
    Some things like the natural disasters are just a sign to prove to humanity that there are forces beyond the control of individuals.
    The natural beauty, the rainbows, the sunrise, sunset, the full moon, the half moon, the waterfalls, the caves, the mountains, the flowers and all the pleasing sights that we cannot control are also a sign pointing to the same fact.
    Life is huge and massive. Life links all existence. We come and we go, but life goes on. What impact can we make on life, with our existence? That’s what makes the difference.
    A life shared with others and accomplishments that bring joy to many far outweigh whatever we do for our own selves.
    This awakening your post refers to is necessary for life to be appreciated.
    The abuse and wickedness that we often experience from family, neighbours or enemies is not worth retaliating or grieving over.
    We can focus on spreading love, peace and joy by habouring them in our thoughts, wishing them to everyone and acting in alignment with them.
    The ideas you’ve inspired have birthed a post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for dropping by teeceecounsel and I am glad you got something out of the post…I provided an extension of my thoughts on your post so we can carry on there if you like.

  3. Pingback: Philosophy: What Is Life All About? | Wise Counsel

  4. Our planet has the power to discard all 7 billion of us in a heartbeat. Our imminent demise has been at her hands throughout our entire existence. What we call a “disaster” is nothing more than a twitch of her skin. That has always seemed very exciting and enlightening to me. It also makes me intensely aware that it is her maternal love that protects us. I’m pretty sure we itch like a bitch.

  5. I’ve thankfully never had to live through a natural disaster (I’ve always felt lucky to live in Toronto because we’re pretty immune from them here). But I understand what you mean about the all-powerful force of Mother Nature. In reality, nature doesn’t show any mercy. That’s how I felt on my hiking trip in the summer. It was the first time I felt really scared of Mother Nature. I knew there was no time to be cocky, that one misstep and I’d be toast. It was a humbling experience.

    Alright, let’s try this sleep thing … hopefully you won’t see me at 3 am again … lol

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