Earlier tonight my daughter and I were on the deck watching silent lightening. We could see, fairly close as lightening goes, large, naked bolts, and no sound but for the occasional very low rumble on the edge of hearing. Very odd.
I explained to her that distinct layers of different air density could reflect sound, not altogether unlike light reflecting on water, and so the sound was being carried away somewhere else, that submariners deal with this phenomenon in using sonar, as they travel up or down between layers of water. She responded with one of those, “Yeah, Dad. I know” dismissals than can make a father both proud and a little disappointed at the same time.
Anyway I figured that sooner or later the sound path would open up. It was much later. I’d forgotten about the lightening. A channel opened up though, wide open, and, rumble rumble CRACK! It was less than a half mile away, and it was as the sound of trees exploding and rocks cracking, which very well may have happened, just a moment ago. It shook the ground.
It haven’t jumped like that in years. Being around gunfire for so long, and several seasons of Boomershoot, plus a few private and up-close Boomer events, you get so the sound is as the regular waves along the ocean shore, or not much more alarming than that. Being out in my garage, maybe it was all context related, and the context was wrong. The dog came in and plopped down on the floor just now.