THE NATURAL SUN

Announcements about our sun and its natural conditions

- Chapter 56 -
Lightning forests. The Bubble Tree


 
E
ntire forests of so-called Lightning Trees rise upon the mountains near notable mineral springs or fire-spewing volcanoes. These forests, of course, have no duration and at the most last three years. But for the local people, they are especially troublesome, even if not detrimental: firstly, because this region cannot be journeyed into without danger to life, when near these trees and secondly, because due to the sound-carrying capacity of this planet, the continuous loud cracking noises of these trees fills the air so that one cannot hear oneself speak in their vicinity.
 
2
You will ask: are these trees actually of a plant nature? Not so, but as you would say in your art jargon, purely electro-plasmic. Because when an excessive amount of electricity has accumulated in the above region, on account of either large mineral springs or fire-spewing volcanoes, a degree of saturation you cannot imagine on Earth, the airborne electricity draws homogeneous mineral atoms from the ground and air together, resulting in visible globules and little hooks that connect up, dropping to the ground wherever there is the greatest attraction. This process results in the rise of entire stems with gnarled branches of all shapes, which attract still more electricity, releasing their excess charge as lightning and an accompanying bang.
 
3
This usually continues until some nearby fire-spewing volcano has quietened down or until the local electric over-saturation has merged with overall electricity, to form equilibrium. Thereafter it needs only an average air draft and the entire forest is lifted from its territory like a dust cloud and scattered over the lands, bringing about the end of this forest.
 
4
Do the inhabitants actually gain by this natural process? Indeed and in no small measure. They watch the forest trees gradually lose their charge then approach cautiously with baskets and long poles fitted with pins and some with shovels. They sweep over the tree probing it for a residual charge and if still loaded, jab the pins into it until totally discharged. Then they proceed to cut off the gnarled branches with their shovels eventually filling the baskets with the branches and the entire tree. The contents resemble the lave ash of your volcanoes, making it indisputably the best manure for their fields. Therewith is the use made of these trees.
 
5
You will ask: why don't we also have such phenomena? But I say unto you: firstly, your Earth is far less electrically charged than our planet Miron (Neptune) and secondly, you are still too unaware of terrestrial phenomena and electrical effects for you to ask this question (translated in the year 1842). Let someone, for instance, betake themselves to the Central African region and others below the equator and they shall soon come across the most rare, fatamorgana-type electro-plasmic objects. Yet there is a difference between terrestrial electro-plasma and that of our planet, because what takes place on a small scale for you, does so with gigantic dimensions there, the ratio being approximately one to one or two thousand.
 
6
And that takes care of this peculiar tree. We shall mention only one more growth called the Bubble Tree, over there. This tree usually grows to a large size by the sea which, as you remember, is not extensive. It is shaped thus: upon a stem of about sixty metres height and six metres in diameter with a fairly smooth bark, there are about three rows of slightly rising but otherwise straight branches, which at the top of the trunk has a great many branches shooting forth in all directions, the end of each being provided with a kind of funnel through which a small, narrow tube passes right through the branch and the entire tree. This tree also is more of a mushroom species than a tree, having no roots but just a broad, wedge-shaped stem sticking in the soil.
 
7
It could be asked: why call it the Bubble Tree? Behold, at the above mentioned branch openings a kind of sticky juice issues forth during a certain time, after which the juice in the interior of this mushroom tree runs dry, rarefying into a type of air, which also is produced by the action of a heavy electric charge. Since the juice in these branch runnel openings has solidified into elastic, it cannot be dissolved, thus obstructing the escape of the air developed inside the tree.
 
8
What is the obvious result? None other than what you played with in your childhood - soap bubbles. The air leaks from the tube to the sticky elastic juice in the funnel-like branch openings, lifting it and expanding it to a balloon, frequently several metres in diameter. When the residents noticing it, they come with ropes, tying the balloon at the funnel opening before cutting it off where it is tied. After the mass has fully dried up, achieving the desired consistency, they untie the strings obtaining the most beautiful and durable pouches and bags in which to preserve things; because this "bubble" in its natural condition, is more durable than your rubber tubes, being so tough that it is hard to cut even with the sharpest instrument.
 
9
The tree is regarded as preferred combustion material also and transported home, firstly because its dried bulk is almost fully resin and secondly because of a popular fragrance upon combustion; and thirdly because the flame from this burning tree has an exceedingly beautiful, light-green glow accompanied by very little smoke.
 
10
These are the rarest growths upon this planet and occur nowhere else. Owing to shortness of time, we shall take on the marvellous animal kingdom next time.