The view from my deck at 4pm today. The ash covers everything. My eyes and lungs sting. The region of Bulkley-Nechako in is a State of Emergency, Nearby towns are under evacuation orders. And nothing but hot dry weather in the forecast.
The air is very heavy, both literally and metaphorically. I’m trying to unpack the rest of my kitchen today, but it’s hard to find the spirit to do it. I want to send up positive vibes and prayers for those fleeing their homes, both the humans and the wildlife, but it’s hard to find the spirit to do it. I should probably be readying SweetEsther just in case we too get an evacuation notice. Weirdly, I’m roaming distractedly in my little WWII era house, feeling a bit nostalgic (not in a good way.) Maybe this is a little of what if felt like back then. Maybe this is what it tastes like when you first start to understand that you are at war with a force much to strong for any one town or region or even nation to defeat on their own.
The army has been called in to help. Teams from Australia and other parts of the world are here to reinforce our front line. Almost as soon as the evacuation notice went out for rural areas of neighbouring towns, Vanderhoof people stepped up, offering up pasture land for displaced livestock and trailers to haul them in, feed to sustain them. It’s encouraging. We are good people and we will all do what we can. We will pull together and fight to stop the destructive force. And when it is all over, we will rebuild what was lost.
But I hope that we will not go back to the status quo. I hope that we will, as a citizen, a town, a region, a country, take some time to assess why this is happening. Think hard about what we have done and are doing to our planet that feeds this kind of unnatural disaster. Because it’s not normal, it’s not ‘natural’ (forest fires are, but not on the scale that the world is seeing in recent years.) I hope that we will not just offer up our thanks like empty platitudes and walk away unchanged by the lesson that Mother Nature is handing us. Because as we rally together to defeat this foe, we need to remember that the outrageous wildfires are just one of the inevitable results of our own indulgent human actions.
We are our own worst enemy. Let’s decide to be our own best solution.