Curiosity takes me to consider precarious actions
What is the most precarious thing you have ever done?
I have always been somewhat conservative and don’t consider myself a huge risk taker, except when it comes to storms. Maybe I was a storm chaser in a past life, but when the thunder and lightning start, I am right at the window (or lately in a vehicle) to watch. I remember one time watching a storm when the kids were young and the lightning was so close and intense that we had to move to the middle of the room. The electricity was incredible!
I have to profess to a little bit of tornado chasing though, and my son is included in this as he loves a good storm as much as I do! How does your brain find some things terrifying – cue the spider – while other, potentially more dangerous things, provide excitement? In the article Why do people take risks, Elke Weber, a psychologist from Columbia University, states that “everyone has a unique risk propensity in each of five categories: financial, health/safety, recreational, ethical and social.” It makes a lot of sense based on how I act sometimes.
Last July, a small tornado touched down just west of Calgary. When I was out walking the dogs around noon, I noticed the clouds were really swirling around and dark. I went home and asked my son if he wanted to come with me to take some pictures of the clouds. Being tired after a morning class of physics, he declined. Two minutes from the house and the warning message came on the radio – tornado spotted and a funnel cloud heading toward southwest Calgary; our neighbourhood was in its path. I called my son and asked if he wanted to go and see a funnel cloud instead and he was in for that! I turned the car around and saw the funnel cloud to the west and quickly picked up my son. Driving only five minutes, we stopped with a bunch of other crazy people to take some pictures.
Not wanting to risk the dogs getting hurt (we’d left them in the house), we turned around and quickly drove home, ready to head to the basement if needed. Well, it was just too exciting to go inside, so we stood on the street and watched. Our dogs knew better and they went back to the house.
When the hail started, we hid under the overhang in front of the garage, which was a good thing as we could have been pelted with toonie sized lumps of ice. The sound of the hail hitting the roof and cars was quite loud (no damage thankfully!). The clouds were greenish and swirling around, and we thought we could see funnels forming, but nothing materialized. When the storm moved away from our house we ran to the park to see the backside. The cloud was pretty impressive!
I am excited for more storms this summer, as I now know (in theory), how to photograph lightning. I just hope we get a lot more rain in the meantime, so we don’t get more fires!!