The exact year of its strike not remembered easily. Yet, its mark permanent, still visibly seen. The lighting hit one stormy night. Its swift and harsh bolt giving the tree a choice. The tree could let this crack in its foundation weaken its base. Or, the tree could decide to embrace strength.
For the first few Springs after this tree’s life changing event, with cautious watch we’d look for sprouts of green. Would there be buds adorning the branches or would the tree have let go during Winter’s sleep? Slowly, steadily, under the sun’s warmth and nature’s rain, sprigs of green would become summer’s canopy of shade.
If another storm brought its gusty winds, through slotted fingers we’d watch the remaining limbs. Would the one closest to the scar be strong enough to hold its own against the windy rage? Or, despite its best efforts would the limb find the relentless gusts outnumbered its mighty brace? The storm would leave, along with the limb firmly held in its same place.
Woodpeckers have found it easy to make their rhythmic drum beats. Tucked in the soft wood of the split consistently strumming their beaks. The tree doesn’t seem to wince, instead standing taller in pride. To be a fortress or a source of food for feathered friends among this tree’s purpose in life.
Ernest Hemingway quoted we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in. An unknown author wrote in part scars on your body show that you have lived. I think of this tree that is still flourishing so beautifully. Its scar not disguised, unlike some people we might meet. Some souls we cross paths with have experienced a tap on the shoulder as bold as lighting striking with its might. The difference is that their cracks from the strike could be hidden from our sight.
We can be gentle with the tree, putting sealer on the crack to protect the tear from widening. What can we do if we can’t see someone’s inner rips they are bearing? We can exhibit compassion and set aside judging. We can ask ourselves from which perspective are we listening. Are we open to hearing from what we perceive and from our own experienced strikes? Or are we open to pondering what wearing someone else’s shoes might be like?
Despite this crack that has grown inches as the tree has grown towards the sky, this tree continues to abundantly thrive. Perhaps it is this scar that has lifted this tree to its regal beauty. The gift of lighting when it visited unexpectantly. At least for this tree in its choice it made, drawing from what it couldn’t stop to fuel its determined strength.