We have not had very much precipitation in the mountains this winter. We’ve had three big storms that deposited a lot of snow in the city proper and on the mountain. However, it was quickly washed away with rain at the lower elevations. February brought idyllic spring-like weather. While we enjoyed it, we also felt some trepidation. The summer and fall of 2018 were frightening to us living in this highly forested area. Fires sprung up in every direction around us. We were told to be packed and ready to evacuate…but where to, we wondered. Some of us stashed non-perishable food staples in the car, packed a suitcase, a tent, sleeping bag, bottled water, clothing, important papers, etc.
The smoky skies extended throughout the summer months starting in early July through October. It was an intense panorama of smoke-filled days and nights. We wore masks when we ventured out. Typically, summer is a time to appreciate the lakes and hiking trails, to walk briskly, climb, swim and breathe deeply the fresh mountain air. Not then. Honestly, there is a certain dread of the coming summer. Without a winter of sufficient rain and snow, we pray for our own safety and that of our forests and forest creatures.
I wrote this poem in September of 2018…
When the not-so-far ridges have been obscured
by smoke for months…
When your mind is clouded with confusing thoughts…
When what you once perceived proves to be false
When you sip your morning
cup of tea and place one foot
in front of the other
and say yes to this new day,
you have learned faith.
The smoke hangs on the ridge waiting for
directions from the wind.
The firefighters are out there
day and night manning
bulldozers, helicopters, heavy machinery–
we trust them to do their jobs–
to be wisely directed by those
who understand the nature
of fighting fire in a heavily forested area
with up and down rugged terrain. We
have to trust them. We have to trust
and to hold onto faith that everything is
going to be alright…
and until then,
that we can bear it–
and live our lives truly
We have to trust that we have
to share our gifts and
into this new day.
We go forward into the uncertainty
on wings of prayer, hope and trust
and whatever love looks like today.
Then, I go into the garden to harvest tomatillos.
As of this moment, it is snowing and accumulating. Yay! And the rest of March might bring more precipitation. We hope so.