This is not a moonrise but a night sky lit by a lightning. The photo was taken a few days ago, from the safety of a hotel window, in Bieszczady mountains, Outer Eastern Carpathian range, several hours after we fled a thunderstorm on a mountain top. The mountains we walked were not jagged rocky outcroppings and we were able to just run downhill to safety. However, today in another Polish mountain range others were not so lucky. Several died and dozens were wounded by thunder strikes.
In Bieszczady, lightning is said to be drawn by fairies called Berdniki. Similar to scarecrows wearing hats, they have their mouths sewn shut. Isn't it tempting to watch them dance? After all, mountains during a thunderstorm are a marvellous theatre. You are surrounded by a sea of clouds, turning milky white everywhere around you every now and then, and the sharp smell of ozone keeps you hyper aware. Watching a serene emptiness turn into a battlefield makes your blood run cold with fear and eyes bright with amazement at the same time.
If you truly love nature and all her children, don't dismiss her anger. Raised and bred under the comfy blanket of civilisation, we tend to see mountains as a destination for a weekend trip, and thunderstorms as a backdrop for a gothic horror. It is easy to forget that beneath this multimedia show there are real and unforgiving forces. When we were running downhill for our lives, we passed people who just pulled their rain coats on and kept walking towards an exposed ridge into the very heart of the tempest.
Some fairy rides really are one way adventures.
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