Mingus Mountain, Arizona

But it has a problem.

The summit, at 7800-odd feet, is higher than any other mountain for dozens of miles. And the trees up there don’t know it but, when a storm with thunder and lightning comes through, they’re gonna get it.

Try telling the tree in this picture, “Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.”

Nonetheless, Mingus is where my wife and I go in the summer to escape the heat. We take folding chairs, coffee from Starbucks and a 12" BMT from Subway to split for lunch so we can relax up there for a couple of hours.

We have nice, fairly typical lives. We have an air conditioned home, loving families, paved roads and clean cars. Our kids and grand kids are growing, learning and slowly finding out how to fend for themselves in this complex world. All in all, it’s real nice being us.

But sitting on that mountaintop with trees like this to remind us, Anita and I periodically check the weather. Up here, thunderstorms can build up strength dozens of miles away but then suddenly sweep over the top of this mountain. When that happens, these trees and anything else up here is gonna get it.

When the lightning strikes, this is a particularly bad place to be. The summit is a relatively small area, there’s only one road, and evidence of lightning strikes is everywhere you look.

If we hear it, see it, or even feel like there’s a storm coming, we pack up and go.


I’m talking minutes.

The tree, of course, doesn’t know what’s coming. It does nothing because, well, it has no choice. I think that’s called “merciful ignorance.”

In our world today, many voices are saying there’s a storm coming and I don’t mean to Mingus Mountain. There is a lot of thunder. The wind is rising and temperature dropping. And, in the distance, there is lightning.

But not all storms roll over Mingus. Some skirt around it.

And a lot of storms eventually peter out. The thunder is loud, yes, but the lightning never reaches the ground.

In fact, most storms don’t do much at all to Mingus. There are lots of trees up there with no visible damage. They are strong, straight, green and healthy.

I haven’t see any lightning in my immediate neighborhood so maybe this one will pass us by.

But, then again, if you’re on top of Mingus when that tree a hundred yards away gets it, you’re too late.

You’re way, way too late.

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