This has been a rough summer, and it looks as if Mother Nature and Lady Luckless are nowhere near finished with us. As if a pandemic weren’t challenge enough, the East coast of our country was battered by Hurricane Laura, and the West coast has been consumed by fire.
Here on the home front in Missouri, we face our own set of challenges. Life has changed during the lost spring and summer of 2020. A year that promised to be a year of perfect vision has clouded over with isolation and financial hard times for many--a time that brought out the best and worst of us. It has been a challenge to know when to standup or to stand down, and too many of us haven’t figured it out yet.
Many members of my Oregon family have had to evacuate ahead of the blistering damage of wildfires. Fire has forever changed the landscape of the place that was home in Jim’s heart. He often talked of and visited his “childhood” places. I’ve watched with dismay as landmarks Jim loved to visit lay in a heap of ashes. My heart hurts for the loss of property and life.
My niece told of their harrowing exit to escape the impending danger of the wildfires. They checked on neighbors, helping a bedridden man out of his home and rescuing another couple whose car was broken down. They took time amidst chaos to lend a helping hand.
I watched horrifying videos of Oregon burning. Then, like a rainbow, I saw some shots, my cousin Debbie Kuhn took of the David Dewett Veterans Memorial Wayside in North Bend, on the Oregon coast. The eerie orange haze of the wildfires added an ethereal beauty that belied the deadly blazes ravaging the countryside. Nature can be glorious in its treachery.
The motto “Some Gave All” made me think of Jim and reminded me that some soldiers who made it home from the war died in Vietnam; they just didn’t know it. The war changed Jim and shaped his life, and most likely led to the dementia that ended it. I’ve come to the conclusion that life teaches us a lot of lessons, but death teaches us more. We cannot afford to squander the limited amount of time we have to accomplish our mission here on earth.
I used to see autumn as the few months before the cold, blustery winter and spent the glorious days dreading what lay ahead. Winter seemed to be a miserable time of year. I can remember Jim going out and starting the car multiple times so that it would start the next morning. Frozen pipes, high heating bills, snowdrifts, and bone-chilling weather made winter a dreadful time of year.
Now that I’m retired, I don’t worry about winter anymore. I think more of the glistening snow and less of the cold. Only I choose whether to dread the ugliness of life, or to seek the beauty that surrounds me.
Copyright © September 2020 by L.S. Fisher