Thursday, August 22, 2013

Morsels of Mindful Living

The Lolo Fire Monday 8/19 at about 2,000 acres.

Fire.. I've always respected fire.  If anything, the diligence my Grandma Graff always had making sure the camp fire was put out instilled that respect in me.  The first time I learned to fear fire though was back in 2002.  While hiking the John Muir Trail, Joe and I hiked through an area that had recently burned, but more importantly was still burning.  The account of this fire can be found on Day 13 of the hike.   But now that we live out West, every year we are humbled by the strength of fire.

We arrived back in Missoula to find the above fire, named the Lolo Creek Complex fire.  This picture is taken from near the end of our road of the Bitterroots.  The fire started during the weekend from a lightening strike, but took off on Monday and both Monday and Tuesday had periods where it was out of control and just running down the mountain.  As of Thursday, this fire is the #1 fire priority in the United States at this moment and it's reported to be over 9,500 acres.

We cannot open our windows as the smoke is so thick around our house and most of the time it's like we are in a fog bank.  Our view had not been as clear as the first picture since Monday night.  

Yet, we are lucky.  This particular fire won't reach us and we can stay in our home, while others are evacuated and wondering about their home.

I feel....
Sadness for those that have already lost their home.
Fear that someone on our hillside will inadvertently start a fire, or that lightening will strike closer in the upcoming storms.
A slight sinus headache from the smoke that has seeped in into the house.
Wonder at the strength of fire and the determination of the people who fight wild fires all summer long.

I smell... smoke.
In the house, it's a light smoky smell, almost a "thick" air smell.
Outside it's like you are standing right next to a big campfire.

I hear...
Fans, as we work to keep a closed up house bearable without air conditioning.
When the fans are off, I hear constant helicopters and low planes.  As of this morning there were 9 helicopters tending the fire.

Despite the thick air, I feel thankful for my breath.  My breath calms me as I watch the fire and it slows and allows me to sleep well even though the air is smoky.

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