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Chapter 85
Once there was lightning. The sky was so black, day lookedlike night. The downpour was heavy. I heard thunder far away.
I thought it would stay at that. But a wind came up, throwingthe rain this way and that. Right after, a white splinter camecrashing down from the sky, puncturing the water. It wassome distance from the lifeboat, but the effect was perfectlyvisible. The water was shot through with what looked like whiteroots; briefly, a great celestial tree stood in the ocean. I hadnever imagined such a thing possible, lightning striking the sea.
The clap of thunder was tremendous. The flash of light wasincredibly vivid.
I turned to Richard Parker and said, "Look, Richard Parker,a bolt of lightning." I saw how he felt about it. He was flat onthe floor of the boat, limbs splayed and visibly trembling.
The effect on me was completely the opposite. It wassomething to pull me out of my limited mortal ways and thrustme into a state of exalted wonder.
Suddenly a bolt struck much closer. Perhaps it was meantfor us: we had just fallen off the crest of a swell and weresinking down its back when its top was hit. There was anexplosion of hot air and hot water. For two, perhaps threeseconds, a gigantic, blinding white shard of glass from a brokencosmic window danced in the sky, insubstantial yetoverwhelmingly powerful. Ten thousand trumpet............
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