Today is 9/11 and usually, I’m focused on remembering what happened in our country so many years ago. But this 9/11, Oregon is burning down. At one time there were five fires. I believe we might be down to four. But as of today, over a million acres have burned or are burning and over 40 thousand people have been evacuated. Thousands more have voluntarily left their homes.
The sun is an eerily eclipse-looking round shape in the sky that doesn’t sting your eyes to look at (please don’t look at it too long) and the sky is filled with smoke and haze. Although it is Summer and has been up to 90 degrees, we haven’t seen a blue sky in days. It’s a bit claustrophobic.
Our air quality has moved quickly from “dangerous” to “hazardous-stay inside”. Those of us with allergies or respiratory difficulties are scrambling to stay healthy. Even those without are experiencing headaches, sinus pain, coughing and other symptoms of too much smoke.
Outside, the light is a funky grey/yellow color. Like a muddy river filled with volcanic ash, but not quite. Like sunlight trying to shine through a black filter. But it can’t. With all the brilliance of the sun, it is unable to break through.
The scenery changed as the fires grew closer. When it first started reaching our areas, the sight was somewhat beautiful, if it hadn’t meant that lives were at stake. The sunsets brilliant. The colors unlike that which we’ve seen before. But as fires grow closer, that same beauty changes to a menacing wall of red. Those who are close to evacuating or being told to evacuate look out their windows to see a scary site. No breaks in the red. No variation of the skyline. No clouds. Yes, in spite of conditions, people continue to work and keep Oregon going. Until it gets too dangerous to do so.
We are nervous, but trying not to be. Our children and pets know this. Our personal vibe becomes the pulse of the home. There are so many questions-most with no answers. We pray for rain. Rain was originally supposed to wait until Thursday to come. But now the forecast says this Monday. So we wait. We strongly encourage those in the danger zones to leave and we pull into survival mode within our own houses, keeping those we love close. We are sad thinking about our beloved State burning to the ground and grateful that our area in the past has shown the ability to enthusiastically regrow. We saw this with the wildfires in the Gorge last year. And I’ve recently been to Mt St Helens-it no longer has grey, dead trees lined up on the ground like matchsticks. It is healthy and beautiful.
Through all of this, we still know the One who knows the answers, and we know that He has not abandoned us. Although He certainly seems up to something in our area, we choose to trust. We will get through. With Him, we will be victorious.
“For He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” Hebrews 13:5b, Amplified Version
May His words and the words of Susan Boyle below encourage you as they have encouraged me.
(thanks to my Facebook friends who have provided some of the photos)