Lightning Strike Out My Back Door

I know the Big News at the moment is how to evacuate people from Kabul who should have been evacuated weeks ago; as with Vietnam fifty years ago, there never was realistic hope that the U.S. backed regime could withstand an utterly determined foe without our military support. I am old enough to remember the frantic Vietnamese trying to cling to the last helicopters leaving the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, because again the American authorities did not evacuate in time. But I have nothing special to offer on this topic except deepest sympathies for all the poor Afghan progressives who will be rounded up, killed or (if they are lucky), “reeducated” by the Islamic fundamentalists. And who knows what the thousands of Al Qaeda aligned operatives, captured at the cost of thousands of American soldiers’ lives, will do now that they have been freed from detention.

So, shamelessly turning inward – – a couple of nights ago during a thunderstorm we heard a loud crack of thunder which was simultaneous with a bright flash of lighting. Either our house or some nearby tree had been struck. I stuck my head out the window to look for fire, but saw none.

Later, we saw long vertical rips in the bark of a pine tree right beside our row of houses. I’ll share photos below. Here is what we see from the house side. There are vertical rips in the bark near the base of the tree, and also visible going up about 30 feet to a fork in the trunk. I could not see any marks or broken branches above that.

On the far side of the trunk at the base there was an even wider gash, with shredded bark on its sides, and also trench in the ground extending away from the tree. Presumably the lighting instantly boiled the moisture in the bark and dirt, and the sudden steam made the bark and soil explode.

Since it does not take much of an electrical jolt to paralyze your diaphragm, these markers of the lightning strike are a good reminder as to why we are advised to NOT stand under a tall tree during a thunderstorm.

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