Just when the summer seems the most insufferable, on a late afternoon, the clouds roll in. Dramatic cracks of thunder warn of the coming storm. The cool downdraft blows the thick heat and humidity away, and after the rain, I go for a run. My shoes feel soft and spongy on the damp pavement, the air feels wonderful in my lungs and I fly around the park in record time, maybe. Maybe not; but I feel good, and that’s something.
The clouds make twilight seem earlier. The wind rattles down drops from heavy-laden leaves and it feels like autumn for a moment. The evening lantern orbs are lit, guiding my way home, and a few timid fireflies make their way around low branches.
I notice in the distance, silvery leaves hanging on branches, cascading over the earth. I approach and see a tree down, the tallest tree in the park? Perhaps. I walk around the wreckage and see that there is still a mighty tall stump with lots-of-life left standing. The top of the tree (mostly likely hit by lightning) lies on the ground, and has taken down a giant branch of another tree. It’s hard to see where one stops and the other begins. I walk to what was the highest point of this tallest tree and pluck one leaf, to keep.
I think of the mighty storm, bringing the top of the tree to a child’s level, to the ground. I think of the giant stump which will probably make it, and how these trials are part of nature, but survival is too. I think of the little leaf in my hand, and how I will forget what it is and throw it away. I make my way home. It is dusk. The night is beautiful.