Sunday, August 23, 2015

Someday, Chelan

To donate to those in need in Chelan, click here.

Chelan, my heart cries out. Chelan, I’m sorry.
Like a loved one suddenly diagnosed with a terrible illness, I flip back through the memories in my mind and I find that I am afraid. I am afraid that what has turned to ash along the lake where I grew up are my memories – my life, my childhood, who I used to be.

Photo by Terri Emery

I do not take easily to change, despite the ever-changing scenery of my life. I do not like that your hills are burned, your trees reduced to coals, your people bravely carrying on instead of gently rolling their eyes at the tourists and praying for the end of summer.

Now, we are all praying for the end of summer – for the rains to dump unseasonably, for the snow that refused to come last year to miraculously fall from the sky. Instead, it is ash. It turned the moon red last night, makes my room taste of burnt marshmallows if I leave the door open, and imprints itself like a heavy thumb in my temple, a reminder as I try to pretend to the outside world that my heart home is not on fire; that the heart of my state is not in flames, that all that I have known is changing, not just in this fire, but in the way that one day I will say to a child, “In my day, the seasons were different. There were four of them, and they were not as they are now.”

I hurt, Chelan. I am sure I do not hurt as much as those staring at the rubble of their homes. I am sure I do not hurt as much as those praying that the firefighters, working beyond exhaustion and around the clock, will be standing between their front doors and the flames. I am sure I do not hurt as much as those whose animals have been lost, whose businesses are empty, who are coughing because the very air – the one thing that we need to take deep, calming breaths of – is gray yellow with ash.

And yet I hurt for all of them – the trees, the homes, the people, the lake even, a placid-looking reflection of it all, a large-yet-small help in the midst of all this pain, its glacial waters offering up some relief to the fury of Mother Nature. It seems the rain dances are not enough, but the lake looks on and offers what she can to the helicopters and the people: a natural fire line, a natural fire suppressant, a constant in the daily changing arena of burning embers.

It is the lake I look to with hope. It’s still there. Someday soon, it will reflect the blue sky again. Someday soon, the water will be used once again for recreation instead of protection, and we will rebuild what has been lost: both what is in our hearts and the foundations that we sleep upon. Until then, all I can do, in my own small day, is to hope that someday arrives someday soon.

Love and Fire-Raw Kisses