Today the air smells of smoke, our beautiful canyons are obscured, and ash is falling to the ground like hot gray snow. It’s all courtesy of the wildfires burning around us. Brushing the ash off the window as I went out to the car, I felt thoughtful.
It’s sobering to think how one small act of carelessness can cause such huge destruction. In the right conditions, one small match or one small spark can erupt into a huge wildfire that consumes thousands of acres – acres that will take years to grow back. Hundreds of homes can be destroyed, and families displaced, just because one person was stupid or careless. You never know what the results of a tiny action might be. And it can all happen so fast!
Lesson to self: Be careful.
On the news the other night, we watched the lines and lines of cars evacuating the town of Fairview. Some people didn’t get a lot of notice before they had to go. If I had to leave my home on moments’ notice, what would I take? I wondered to myself. What matters most to me? What are my priorities? Do I have a plan?
Lesson to self: Plan and prepare.
Stepping out into the hot, smoky, ash-filled air today, I thought how grateful I am for our usually clean, clear, crisp Mapleton air. How grateful I am that my home, loved ones, and livelihood are not in danger. How grateful I am to live in a beautiful little community where I know that should disaster befall, community members would pull together and help each other out.
I am 100% sure that if a tragedy were to befall me or my family, friends and neighbors would step forward with endless offers of help and comfort. I know this, because I have seen it happen over and over: As people in my neighborhood have experienced difficulty, tragedy, and sorrow, a well-organized network of compassionate, capable people immediately steps forward to help.
It is so easy to take all of these things for grated. But the billowing smoke, the images on the TV screen, the smell in the air, all are reminders that what so often seems ordinary, really is extraordinary and should be appreciated each and every day.
Lesson to self: Be grateful, everlastingly grateful, for the blessed goodness of everyday life.