Monday, September 9, 2013

Why you should never take shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm

Last week we had a sudden, wild thunderstorm in the Vancouver lower mainland.

Two houses away from our house, in a small park, the tallest tree was hit by lightning:

Lighting Strikes Cedar Tree
This  cedar tree had sentimental value for me.  When we moved into our neighbourhood 25 years ago, this tree was the only tree of any size in what was then a brand new subdivision.   The area had formerly been a cedar forest, but had been razed for the subdivision.   Newly planted trees were all about waist high.   The developers had spared this tree because it is located in a small children's play park.  I recall getting into an argument with a neighbour years ago when my youngest son, then about 5, playing with friends in the park, was seen peeing against the trunk.  I told the neighbour:  "That's what little boys Dooooooo!"

As the years went by, other trees became larger and the tree lost it's special significance.  But it still remained the tallest tree in the vicinity.  The other day, during the lightning/thunderstorm...I heard a dreadful CRACK/BOOM!   My house shook.  I wondered what it was, hoping it wasn't the house next door.  The next door neighbour has a very impressive array of antennas attached to his roof (we think he's channeling the old Soviet Union : ) 

After the violent squall had passed, I went out and examined the damage, it was massive.  One side of the tree had exploded into shrapnel and shot into all the surrounding area.  Anyone standing nearby would surely have been killed.

It caused me to reflect on the power of nature, and the dangerous situations that we could suddenly find ourselves in..... if we are not prudent.  Right now, I feel that the "Obomber" and his crew have placed the entire world in a situation akin to standing under a tree during a lightning storm. 

As I type this post, the city workers, their chain saws buzzing and whining....are busily cutting up the tree and hauling the wood away.


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