Yes, hope remains. Despite fires and smoke, extremely hazardous air quality, several days of evacuation orders: hope remains.
All the above add stress to the already stressful pandemic. Yet, hope remains.
One bit of good news, the Portland protests and riots took a break during the smoke and poor air quality. One less level of stress. Hope remains.
As we sat in our home, we talked a lot about preparedness when threatened by a natural disaster. What one thing would you take? It’s hard to say. You might not have time to remember what that thing is and then pick it up and go. But we did start a list of what we’d need to take with us.
This is a new experience for us. The danger zones were a new experience for our firefighters, other responders, and those tracking the wildfires. These fires met up with a Santa Ana-type windstorm. The winds licked up the flames and moved more quickly than anyone expected.
Our county’s placement under a smoke advisory advised residents to stay inside with windows and doors closed tightly. Already tired of the pandemic quarantine, the idea of being closed within our home because of smoke was somewhat worse. Nothing could be seen before, behind, or beside us. It felt like living in a cocoon that wasn’t opening. Hope remained, and the rains came. And the smoke slowly left our valley.
While we talked and listened for alerts, I remembered a time we visited a forest in eastern Oregon only days after a raging wildfire had gone through it. Bob’s brother and his wife lived in Burns at the time and shortly after that fire we visited them for a weekend. They suggested we take a walk through the forest to see the fire’s devastation.
Green shoots breaking through charred debris surprised me. Tiny pine and fir trees were beginning life again in their home high atop a hill in this forest. Blackened and charred trees and ash were all around us. Tall trees remained but showed the effects of the heat and fire that had lapped at their trunks days before. At that moment, hope was also growing and shining brightly.
The memory of that trip and the walk into the burned forest created a spark of hope welling up within my heart. Not just for the renewal of the forests, but for the possibility of renewal in other ways:
- bringing the raging wildfires under control and protecting those in harm’s way;
- recovery for the people who lost everything;
- in our relationships with our brothers and sisters of all colors and ethnicities, all religions, and all lifestyle choices;
- the discovery of a COVID vaccine and healing for those suffering from the virus; and
- peace in our world.
Now that I see that spark of hope, what am I doing with it? Sharing it with you and others!
What will you do with it? How can we all become united in spreading this hope?
We can think about these questions and write out our feelings about hope in a journal, a post, an essay, a poem, a song, and share it with others in the hope that they will catch the spark of hope and spread it, too!