It was a big tree, gashed along the side away from the barn. My grandpa calls it “The Guardian.”
Said he saw it happen in the big rainstorm of 2012. The sky alight, the thunder rumbling; the dogs scrambling for cover on the porch, yowling like every clap tore open an ear. Then a bolt hit the aspen. Hit it at the leafy top and seared into the trunk, so now you see the scar ripple dark down to the ground.
It’s grown some. Taller now. Stronger. Beloved. Hay bales safe under the barn roof feed the cows all winter.