Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sudden Stripe

It has rained nearly every day for as long as I can remember. It seems once the last of the late-Spring snows melted our small corner of the world was drenched in rains, the drops sometimes light and barely noticeable except for the dusty marks they leave on the hoods and windows of our cars, sometimes torrential, nearly submerging our streets and painting our world in Jackson Pollock drips and smears. Lately Denver has seen tornadoes, right in the city, dropping out of the skies with grace and shocking speed, causing little damage and fading away as quickly as they appeared. And then sometimes the rains are merely loud.

Yesterday morning, as he was sitting on the bed in his room, Brady had a front row seat to the suddenness of Denver's spring weather. A bolt of lightning struck one of the three large cottonwoods just outside his window. It's a tree Duncan and I walk beneath every day, sometimes several times, always pausing long enough to admire the thick veins of bark and the highways of ants which travel up and down it. The lightning wrapped around the trunk in two jagged stripes, one on each side, both winding their way from up high among the gray-green leaves, peeling back the thick bark like a pulled hangnail, as it traveled down to the damp earth, leaving a wide cratered fingerprint between two fat roots. It must have been quite the sight, the dark mid-morning illuminated, the tree a sudden enormous sparkler. Brady heard the crack, deafening in his room, but before he had time to turn the window exploded around him, the glass shattering into tens of thousands of pieces, a deadly flashing kaleidoscope. Chunks of bark hurtled through the window and ricocheted around the room as he threw himself to the floor to safety. He spent much of the rest of the day cleaning the room and having his brother pull chunks of glass and slivers of wood from his back and scalp, marveling that he was alive at all.

It is a tree I have always loved, bigger around at its base than I am tall, taller than the three-story buildings we live in. It is the last tree to lose its leaves in Autumn, offering shade and soothing windy whispers when everything else has undressed and stands stark in the slanted light. It is the last tree in Spring to pull its clothes back on, teasing me for weeks as Duncan and I pass beneath it in the morning and again in the afternoons and evenings., Brady hates the thing, and I suppose I would too if I'd watched it sway under the force of a summer storm, hearing the great boughs creak and moan under their own weight. But our experience has been different and so I love it and hope it does not die, that it will stand exactly as it is long after we have rested in its shade one last time.


Sue said...

WOW! Incredible pictures!

Luna and Sole' said...

Wow! I hope everyone is ok! Since we also live in Denver, we know what you are talking about - weather wise, but good grief!

I love ready your posts.....say hi to Duncan for us!

Luna and Sole'

Sierra Rose said...

What weather!
Strange...we have seen big thunderheads here on the West Coast lately, not typical for our area.
Oh! Duncan, nice to visit your site. I am just starting out on mine.....come for a visit sometime...

Will visit again soon!
Sierra Rose

Sierra Rose said...

Hi Duncan and Duncan's dad!
Thanks for stopping by my site.
Yes, your beautiful coat is similar to my family. I will probably be a nice deep red too!!

Bye for now,
Sierra Rose

GoldenSamantha said...

What violence nature can deliver! Your writing is just so beautiful. When my other blog crashed several months ago, I know I missed carrying over a few blogs I was following and I'm sorry for that - you were one of the blogs I forgot and I've corrected it now - I knew I was missing a lovely golden! That collar is gorgeous by the way! I'll have to check out the store if they have a website! Good to see and read you again!
Bye xo

Greg said...

Beautiful ponderings, as always, my friend.

Lots of trees live long beyond such encounters with nature's sudden fury. I hope your friend will be one of those.

caboval said...

Whoa! Thats incredible! Hey! Happy Fathers Day Curt! Hugs and Kisses to you both! Joey and Kealani

CJ/Rick said...

I hope the tree will survive and that you and Duncan remain safe, high and dry. Send that rain down to Texas please.

Lori said...

"Pulled hangnail." Excellent imagery!

How terrifying for Brady, though! Glad he is relatively unscathed.