About six years ago as my husband and I were sitting in our breakfast room, a wicked thunder storm was under way. We ate with the sounds of thunder and lightning as our background music.
Our breakfast room may be the smallest room in our house, but it feels open since there are large picture windows on two sides.
Lightning struck and suddenly chunks of wood began furiously striking the window facing the backyard. I screamed and we both jumped from our chairs. It was as though a wood chipper was being wielded by an invisible adversary to hurl fragments at the window.
As soon as the storm subsided, we went outside to check for damage and to determine the cause of the pelleting. Lightning had struck two trees about fifteen feet into the woods just off our driveway. We could see where the current ran down each tree and burned the soil at their bases.
According to the site ScienceABC.com, “When lightning strikes, the sap in the bark of the tree is subject to extreme temperatures. The electrical resistance causes the sap to be heated into steam, which can make it explode. That’s why some trees violently explode when struck by lightning.”
We found pieces of bark throughout the outside surroundings—on every porch and its roof, all over the yard and driveway.
I remember walking down to the trees and running my hands over the scars the lightning had inflicted. This may sound completely wacko to you, but I’m being honest. I thanked those two trees for giving their lives to protect our house. I figured for sure they would die, but they are still standing today.
In the recent issue of Homestead Magazine (a short periodical distributed by John Deere Tractor Co.) there’s an article about, well, talking to trees.
Charles Johnson, the article’s author, pokes fun at the topic. But he says his interest was piqued when he read a book written by a forester who works in the Eifel Mountains in Germany. The book has the long-winded title of: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate….Discoveries from a Secret World. Book author Peter Wohlleben says his belief is that “trees experience pain and have memories.”
Now the sacrificial hit my two trees took seems all the more poignant.
I read a story about a college professor who asked her class, “How many of you love nature?” As expected, every hand in the room went up. Then the professor asked, “And how many of you believe that nature loves you back?”
Think about that. It’s a great question.
The students looked around a little sheepishly and then tentatively, a few raised their hands.
But what a beautiful thought to embrace…that nature, God’s creation, loves us back. We would likely gain even more pleasure from nature if we accept that mindset.
Later in the spring when the peonies release from their tightly wrapped balls and the daylilies unfurl like flags, I will consider that they are giving me their spectacular gifts because they love me.
And just remember, my trees have the scars to prove it.
To my readers: Will you share a favorite story concerning nature?