As an enormous wall of gray clouds approaches, the anticipation grows ever so slightly with each passing moment. This warm sun-filled afternoon slowly begins its descent into a cool breezy evening as the rain commences. A few tiny droplets fall from the dark canopy above onto the carpet of green blades beneath my feet. Across the wavy pasture the verdant pine trees at the woods' edge come alive as they sway back and forth like stalks of wheat from some lonely field in rural Nebraska. A thin layer of fog slowly begins to form just above the warm ground as the steady downpour continues.
My brother and I were as close as any two siblings could be. Although he is a full three years older than me, we seemed to do more together than he and the guys his own age did. We could fish for hours and hours, although we didn't usually catch much except for loads of weeds and algae. We knew that snagging a few bass wasn't primarily the purpose of our trips to the pond. The outings were our refuge; we could completely forget about how much we hated school or all the problems we had with girls and just laugh over his dirty jokes and my embarrassing stories while the fish paid no real attention to our bait.
We both also shared an unquenchable thirst for rainstorms. Most people think of rain as a nuisance that upsets the normal rotation of sunny cloudless days and causes usual outdoor activities to be put on standby, but not to Brian and I. As soon as we noticed the wind picking up or a sudden drop in the temperature, we would head for the pasture. Nature seems to take on a completely different kind of beauty when it rains, a beauty truly appreciated by both of us. One day as the rain was falling, Brian and I decided to sit underneath our giant old oak tree, as we sometimes did, to eat a few apples and talk about our day. As I went to retrieve some more fruit, a deafening boom that sounded as if a bomb had hit directly behind halted me. As I turned, I saw the old oak split in...
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