Yesterday morning we sat at the breakfast table reading our morning devotional and sharing morning prayers. Our local classical radio station played in the background. I heard the on-air host announce the next song, Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles. The song was written by George Harrison while walking through Eric Clapton’s garden.
I looked out the window beside our table and there it came—the sun shining through our trees leaving dappled sunlight here and there. What a beautiful start to our day!
Usually, the rain sticks around Portland well into May but this winter has been different. It seems winter has been different almost everywhere. To experience sunlight during the wettest, darkest season of our year is a gift. Like this song by George Harrison.
Monday was definitely a Monday. I sat all day and watched patiently for the promised weather forecast–sunbreaks. Yet, they never made a showing. Just one or two would have made all the difference in the world outside my window.
Nothing but gray skies, a chill in the air, reports of freezing fog early morning. None of this aids in ridding oneself of back or leg pain. In fact, it only makes it worse.
Monday’s weather also fed into the slightly depressed, somewhat anxious state-of-mind while you’re awaiting a somewhat complex spinal surgery in a couple of weeks. Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest can bring the happiest soul down a notch or two or more.
The good news is that the weather is looking up–sunny both Thursday and Friday of this week. That is if you believe weather prognosticators!
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 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.
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.
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.