Reflection on Changing Landscapes

As we move from summer to autumn, changes appear all around us. We notice changes in tree colors, smells in the air, cooler temperatures, and the length of days. We even note changes in how our bodies feel.

A larger scope allows us to see larger and often destructive changes all around us. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and raging wildfires across our country left much destruction. In our treatment of each other, we sense the destruction of community.

So many things are changing

  • The seasons
  • Our weather
  • Attitudes
  • And more

The list could go on, but this gives you an idea of what's coursing through my mind.

 A look at the weather

We moved from Tennessee to Oregon in 1983, arriving a day or so before July 4th. Imagine my surprise when Bob suggested I grab jackets as we left our hotel in the early afternoon. We were visiting with friends for burgers, and fireworks in the later evening. But gosh! It was the 4th of July! The day couldn't possibly cool off that much.

Hold on just a minute. Believe me when I say this. I was actually in disbelief when I asked Bob to go to the car and grab my sweater around 7:00 that evening. The sun was still bright in the sky, but a wind had come up and was casting chilly breezes around.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017. The hottest summer on record for our area. Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, and all the Willamette Valley registered temps well into three digits. This lasted several days and lingered in the 90s for the rest. No rain for over 90 days. The parched ground cries for water. What is usually covered with green grasses is brown and ripe for the flick of a flame to start a fire.

Changing landscapes

Many landscapes in our world are transforming, whether by Mother Nature's normal routine. Or is it due to global warming, or perhaps unwitting actions we take?

If August's heat wave wasn't enough, September 2nd provided the next shock for Oregonians. News images left people in disbelief. One of Oregon's greatest natural treasures was engulfed in flames. The Eagle Creek Trailhead and Campground erupted in flames that afternoon.

As of Sunday last, the fire had reached 48,000 acres and was 32 percent contained. The landscape of this sacred place has changed.

As the fire burned, it grew closer to Portland. The smoke filled the valley's skies and air quality created breathing issues for some. I have never lived where smoke from a large fire came so close that ashes fell to the ground and the air became heavy. The fire was 22 miles from where we live.

Remembering Harvey and Irma

Let's not forget Harvey and Irma. Harvey left inflicted immense damage on Houston and surrounding area. A great deal of the State of Florida were in Irma's wide and sweeping path. These people now look outside and see a landscapes changed drastically.

Changing attitudes toward others

News reports involving the Eagle Creek Fire suggested young boys were responsible. Social media took up its standard and attempted to crucify these young fellows. At this point, authorities had not charged the boys with anything. Nor were they commenting widely in the news media.

In my opinion, the boys may be found responsible for throwing fireworks and starting the fire. One eyewitness reports seeing them. Perhaps someone failed to teach these boys respect for public trails and nature's beauty. To damage these areas is to hurt more than just the brush and trees along the way. It deprives others of the pleasure of using the trails and camping areas.

Another sign of a changing landscape in our world today. Living among us are people too quick to judge and accuse others, even before they know the facts or truth of a matter. What bothered me most was the finger pointers and accusers called themselves Christians. They had children of their own. I wonder if they stopped to think how they would feel under similar circumstances.

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Signs of changing times, or did I just imagine that we're back in the 1960s? Of course, we weren't talking about global warming or climate change then but we weren't being good stewards of our country environmentally. Our attitudes toward our differences in skin color, religion, ethnicity were under scrutiny, but personally I don't believe we've come far enough to make a difference.

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What have you noticed around you--in your family, your city or town, your church or school, your neighborhood, your various landscapes--that is or has changed recently? Would you be willing to share with us in the comments? I hope so.