I followed a trail 300 yards through thick shrubbery. There,

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I followed a trail 300 yards through thick shrubbery. There, a grassy field opened and was stretched as far as I could see. In the center, there stood a tree. I walked over to examine it. When I arrived at the foot of the 200-foot tall tree, I saw running across the bumpy, barky outer surface a fissure exposing the charred wood.

The crack moved halfway up the trunk and reached five or six feet from the surface of the earth. On the left side of the tree, the leaves were wilting and dying. After that, I smelled a faint burning odor and saw a small ribbon of smoke. Climbing halfway up the tree, I discovered that the hole in the center of the tree was smoldering. The electrical storm from the previous evening paid particular attention to this tree leaving fresh scars. The right half of the tree still looked healthy and alive.

When the scar heals, it may be a home for some thankful creature.

At that time, it occurred to me that trees are very important to the ecosystem. They help reduce soil erosion by increasing water permeability, which means the soil absorbs the water, rather than creating runoff. Trees also shelter many types of life like mosses, insects, a few mammals, and many species of birds. Even when they die, they are harvested and are used to build the homes of many people. Then I thought to myself, trees are a symbol of shelter.

Just as the earth serves as our shelter in the never-ending vastness of the universe, a tree may be a house for a squirrel in the middle of a dangerous forest. I began to walk away and think to myself, "Maybe someday this field will be a forest. And the hole where the lightning hit the tree will act as a shelter."