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.
Looking at the blue jeans I have on today, I remember buying them when I was much younger. They were dark blue, whereas now they are washed blue, showing dots of white throughout. A stylish rectangular hole, approximately two by three inches, bares my knee. The tear had its start on a backpacking trip. I’d like to say a sharp rock abraded the cloth while I knelt to splash my face, but memory has its limits. I had a dog then. If he was here, he would lick my knee and then curl up on the floor for a nap.
In pairs, we sprawled on a white sectional, arms and legs entwined. A plate glass window framed the grid of city streets. It was one of those sticky summer days that make you want to take a hundred showers. Relieved to drink something cold and watch daylight turn to dusk, our murmurs subsided to whispers. Our eyes closed. Despite the air conditioner’s hum, it smelled like rain.
A bolt of lightning cracked the sky. We counted, and when the thunder clapped, we calculated our distance from the storm, wondering when the elements would come together and the heavens would open.