8.25.2009,7:36 AM
Elemental Power

We as creatures on this planet occupy a place between the solid ground and the vast space above it. The surface of the plant has a somewhat 'grounded' nature (to use a vernacular in the literal sense): temporally, changes occur slowly, often so slow we are not aware of them. Relative to our biological and social timeline, the ground and earth seem to stay still, unmoving. We even perceive diurnal changes -night and day- as rotating around us. We are the centers of our world. Or so it often seems.

On the other hand, aerial space -weather, temperature, moisture, etc- changes constantly. One of the most obvious manifestations of change in that vast space in which we inhabit as upright creatures: storms. Perhaps because Texas is so big, so are our storms. (tongue in cheek with a spit of sarcasm)

After spending the weekend in town working on bikes at a friend's place, I rode home to find a reminder of power that emanates from natural elements above us. At the confluence of my gravel driveway and private road was a mess. The tall beloved cottonwood that towered over the pond and provided shade and screening from the road (on the right in the photo above) was split from top to bottom.

Part of the splintered half remained connected to the tree by strands of wood half-way up. Another large portion had crashed to the ground on the driveway and road. I stopped the bike and stared at it. It was like finding a fallen comrade and I felt remorse. Simultaneously, I also knew I would have to clean up the debris as soon as possible.

After changing clothes I walked from the house to the tree and found 6-24 inch splinters of wood scattered several hundred feet away from the tree. A small group of similar pieces were piled next to the barbed wire fence which separates the neighbor's cow pasture from my property and road; again, several hundred feet away.

The tree had exploded.

Retrieving a pruning saw, I began sawing limbs and clearing brush. My neighbor pulled up in his truck and related that a bolt of light and a deafening clap hit nearby shortly before 6am Friday morning. That would have been about 10 minutes or so after I rolled along the driveway on my motorcycle to head into town. He said if I had been riding past there when it hit, I "would have been toast."

He returned with his Bobcat, pulled down the hanging tree top and pushed the debris into my dry pond within 15 minutes. I'll burn the pile during a fall rain.

I'll miss that tree. The pair of Great Horned owls and many a hawk have rested on its branches, silhouetted against a sunset or sunrise. Its twirling leaves were like music in a breeze and its image dominated reflections in the pond water.

Yup, I'll miss it. Like an old friend. That space has now changed; a friend missing from its place.


posted by Macrobe
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