Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Have You Ever Seen Something Amazing?

That line above comes from a TV commercial running presently.  I couldn't tell you what the product is, I want to say a car, but I can't remember.  That will no doubt disappoint the writer of said commercial.  (Actually, I may not even be remembering the wording correctly; it's really not an effective ad.)

Normally a question like that would make me roll my eyes.  How much more banal can you get?  It's right up there with 'have you ever eaten something tasty?  Heard something beautiful?  Felt excited?  Do you like fun?'  The first time I heard it though, instead of snorting derisively, I found myself vividly recalling one such amazing sight. 

I was ten years old, sitting in the back seat of a car my family had rented in Ireland.  We were driving along the west coast, in view of the ocean.  It might come as a surprise to know it was raining.  As a kid I loved being in the car during big downpours.  I loved watching the raindrops stream up along the windows, the sound of water on the roof, tires on the wet road. Watching storms from a house window was fun too, but it was so much better doing it inside a car, a moving 360 degree view, especially if the landscape was stunning and spacious by itself.  I have many fond memories of rainy car trips in Ireland and the UK.  Only recently did it occur to me how nerve-wracking those experiences must have been for my parents.  Driving an unfamiliar car, on unfamiliar, narrow, poorly maintained country roads, frequently around blind mountain passes, on the left, during a torrential downpour?  And let's not forget having to keep alert for flocks of sheep.  I doubt my parents were having much fun.  It says a lot that they didn't prevent me from enjoying it. 

This particular day we came around a hill to the sight of great sheets of rain marching in from the Atlantic, coming up onto shore and across some cliffs.  And 'march' is the only way to describe it.  The rain looked like it had been carefully arranged in rows, evenly spaced, all moving at a brisk yet controlled pace.  At that distance, the storm seemed planned, at least organized.  Whether I thought it consciously or not, I suspect I was also awed by the scale.  This storm was probably several miles long, at least a few miles tall, but from where we were it was a single entity, one enormous, awe-inspiring battalion. I may not have had the good sense to be frightened, but I was definitely awed by the size and power of it.  .   

I'm not sure why the commercial copy triggered this particular memory, but I'm grateful that it did.  It has me wanting to compile a list of personal experiences that I would consider amazing.  Rough categories are already forming in my head; there are all the ones involving weather and landscapes, ones involving animals, and the ones involving works of art or performance, just for starters.  Not really sure what will be gained by recording these memories, but I plan on finding out. 

How about you?  Does this question trigger a specific memory for you, or does it just make you roll your eyes?  What is the most awe-inspiring thing you've seen or experienced?  Care to share?  Feel free to do it in the comments section, or share a link if you do it on your own blog. 


Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

I've seen many things that have literally left me awestruck and moved to tears. But most recently, in May, I remember a morning in Maui when we went along with Bryson and his friends. As you know, Bry's best friend Jeff is battling cancer, and we still never know from one day to the next if he is winning this battle. However, back to the Maui morning...we went out to watch the sunrise. The boys were all sitting on the beach with their backs to us. The sun came up, and from our vantage point, we could see both islands of Lanai and Molokai in the distance. As the sun rose, a rainbow formed. Not uncommon in Hawai'i of course, but we all watched in wonder as the ENTIRE rainbow appeared in full color spectrum glory, one end on Lanai, the other end on Molokai, and the boys all sitting underneath it. I sobbed like a baby. I want to believe, with all my heart, that that was a sign to us that all will be well.

Greg said...

Living on the edge of the Atlantic and experiencing so many of the variable natural factors that brings might cause me to overuse the word "amazing"; I think it has come to mean a variety of things, depending on my tone of voice. But the storms do often seem the most impressive.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how safe a good parent (or parents) can make you feel. I was lucky like that too. I was afraid of nothing when my Dad was around. I still need him to be around sometimes.

Diane is a big fan of storms. She gets excited when she sees the red radar screen heading in from Illinois.