Even the Hottest Fire
I am afraid of fire. That may seem to be a simple, less than profound statement. After all, most people are at least respectful of fire. What I should say is that I am terrified of fire and have been since an unfortunate incident that happened when I was just a very little girl. I have watched, horrified, as my neighbors, friends, business associates felt the full force of a blaze that we all knew could potentially come but none of us were really expecting.
For all the years of my life, I have stared at the mountains just off in the distance. They are a part of my landscape, a piece of my picture. But, I have never really thought about what they mean to me and the community. I simply assumed that they would always rise, beautiful and stately, just beyond my home. The concept of losing their beauty simply didn’t exist for me. Now it is all that I can think about.
Wildfires belong to the west, tornadoes to the mid section of the Country, blizzards to the north and hurricanes to the south. Here, in the heartland, I was safe. My neighbors are devastated. They lost more than homes and livelihoods to the wildfire. They lost their sense of security, their way of life. Some lost loved ones that can never be replaced, no matter the size of the insurance check. What they didn’t lose was their spirit.
I am proud of the way the community has risen to lift up those who are hurting and in need. With no fanfare, no marches or protests, no looting or shooting, no blaming or seeking fame, they simply answered a call. It says much about the people of our greater community and it makes me proud to be their friend and neighbor.
To those that fought hard against a foe that makes me quake in my boots, I am thankful. Your backbone kept us standing tall. You have walked through hell and we will not forget your sacrifice. To our State Representatives, thank you for taking up the mantle and easing the way toward financial recovery. To everyone who offered a prayer, donated a dollar, sent supplies or rolled up your sleeves and volunteered, thank you for your devotion to your community. It is that devotion, caring and selflessness that makes our community great.
The last week has been proof positive that you cannot take the things and people in your life for granted. Sometimes the impossible happens, even here in the heartland. Challenges and differences aside, there are some really good people who make up our community. This fire may be one for the history books but I am certain that it will not define this community. We will grieve for our losses and we will never forget. But, we will come back better, stronger and more resilient because the foundation of our community is built on faith in God and love for each other. Those are two things that even the hottest blaze cannot destroy.