Trickles of water sunder as violent winds blow. A double pain window, a few pieces of metal, is all that separated passengers from a malevolent atmosphere. Some read and slept, others talked anxiously with unknown neighbors. Toddlers wined and moaned and mothers said no. The airplane tipped and turned, jolted and jared like a mutant giant held it in its grasp. Was one supposed to feel scared or electrified?
Turbulence in the troposphere is characterized by chaotic changes in the environment. Atmospheric scientists define it as, “a state of fluid flow in which the instantaneous velocities exhibit irregular and apparently random fluctuations.” Thunderstorms are like mountains of air. Imagine a big rock in the middle of a flowing stream. As the current increases waves begin breaking over the boulder, foaming and frothing with turbulent force. Figuratively speaking, an airplane experiences turbulence when caught in the chaotic water surrounding the boulder.
What is it that causes fear? Does fear come from an unknown future event, such as in the case of an airline passenger who doesn’t know why the plane is tumbling and tossing like a small skiff in 40ft seas?