Editor’s Note: I’m still in Colorado for a few more days, but I’ve been keeping up with news from home, the heat, and now the fires that we knew would come. Smoke and ash are in the air. The forests are ablaze. Even a bit of rain first brings lightening, which sparks yet more fires.
I dreamed I went out into the forest to see the men fighting the blaze. They worked together as a mighty team, silently clearing underbrush before it could blaze up.
A wide, clear dirt firebreak had been created. Through this barren highway, the animals were racing past: deer, rabbits, raccoons, even a moose, all trying to get to safety.
I have seen fire up too close. I have watched at night as men and trucks were silhouetted on a hilltop against a background of scarlet and orange flames. I have watched fire eat its way uphill before the wind. I have choked on smoke, and seen ash sifted down on the roof of my car.
It is the heartbreak of every summer, to know the woods are burning, to know human and animal lives are at risk, that homes and meadows are being destroyed.
Here is a poem to ponder.
Do you think of them as decoration?
Here are maples, flashing.
And here are the oaks, holding on all winter
to their dry leaves.
And here are the pines, that will never fail,
until death, the instruction to be green.
And here are the willows, the first
to pronounce a new year.
May I invite you to revise your thoughts about them?
Oh, Lord, how we are all for invention
But I think
it would do us good if we would think about
these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply.
The trees, the trees, just holding on
to the old, holy ways.
Write a journal entry or poem in praise of the trees. Be specific in naming them, and their qualities. And pray for the fire fighters who brave the heat and the danger.