And it went kaBOOM!

Stricken Spruce

Stricken Spruce

We’ve had some thunderstorms lately.

About a month and a half ago I was sitting quietly at my computer while a storm rolled around us. There were the usual flashes with noisy accompaniment and bursts of wind and rain, but nothing unusual. Suddenly the floor next to my chair exploded (KRACK BOOM!!) with a brilliant light. Well, okay, it wasn’t actually the floor next to my chair, but it sure seemed to be. Or maybe something right outside the window. Anyway, much too close for comfort.

I looked in the front yard to see what had been hit, expecting the sweet gum tree to be gone, but all was well there. Then Lisa pointed out the damage to largest of the Norway Spruces at the edge of our property in back of the house. A deep gouge nearly half the length of the tree showed pale lumber color in contrast to the darker brown of the bark around it, and bits of shattered lumber hung in the branches of nearby trees or lay scattered on the ground. There was even tree shrapnel in the front yard. The chunks of wood had no bark on them — the chunks of bark I found had no wood on them and were all burned on the inner side.

Spruce shrapnel on the patio

Spruce shrapnel on the patio

Years ago in Austin we watched a neighbor’s tree burn after a lightning strike — the fire department refused to do anything because of the electrical wires intermingled at the top of the tree. Recently someone on Facebook posted a video of a tree being converted to nothingness by a lightning strike. Our event was nothing like either of those, fortunately — destruction was minimal, there was no fire, and the tree still stands, marked only by the gouge — but it’s as close as I ever want to come.

It’s been nearly two months since the lightning strike. New bark has begun to spread across the gouged trunk, although the needles on some branches on the gouged side of the tree have turned brown. Otherwise all seems well. I think the tree will be okay.


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