Out of the Ashes
Yesterday it rained. I woke up to glorious rain and it rained all day. It rained enough to put out the fire. It never rains all day in the summer. And it never rains in July. It was an incredible miracle. An answer to many many prayers. Late in the afternoon the clouds cleared and the sun came out. I headed to my mom’s so I could see for myself the destruction from the fire that started two days ago.
I don’t have a wide angle lens, and I couldn’t get far enough away from the mountain to get a picture of the whole thing without hiking up the side of the mountain on the other side of the valley. In flip flops. So I took three pictures and pieced them together in photoshop. It’s not perfect. Whatever. (Click the pic to go to flickr and see it larger if you are so inclined.) The burn is horrendous. The new burn meets up with an old burn scar from a wildfire when I was a teenager. (The right edge of this picture.) These mountains have always meant home to me. And to see them burned so horribly breaks my heart. But they will grow back. It takes time. But even covered in burns they are still majestic guardians. They still protect my home. They still watch over the places and people I love. Trees will grow. The grass will be green again. They will change back into something I recognize. It will take years. But these mountains will be beautiful again.
I am so grateful to all the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to watch over my small hometown. They are still there, I heard helicopters flying over the burns checking for hot spots. The rain didn’t quite wash everything out, but enough to keep it from spreading. I did see one small plume of smoke rising after the rain was over, but the helicopters were watching it. I am so grateful for them. A sign on a pallet at the end of the street isn’t enough, but it touched my heart. And then another miracle happened. Not two hours after the storm had cleared it started to cloud over again. And it began to rain. It rained hard for almost an hour. I sat in my mom’s living room with all the windows open and listened to the rain on the leaves and the sidewalk and the roof. I breathed in the good clean smell of mountain rain. The horrible sting of smoke was gone.
An hour later the sun came out just in time to reflect the orange and pink glow of sunset across my mountains. Two days ago this mountain looked like the picture above. And after the clouds cleared it looked like this.
A magnificent double rainbow, rising out of the burn. It started here and stretched for 20 miles across the sky before I saw it touch back down. God works in mysterious ways. A rainbow is a symbol of hope. A reminder that after the storm there is peace. Beauty. That life begins again, and that even the worst of experiences will result in some good. And while the fire and the miracle of rain is most of the story, it’s not everything. Last week I mentioned that there would be a silver lining, somewhere. That some good would come from all the bad. And as I watched these rainbows glitter in the sun and then fade to dusk I was reminded again that God has a plan for me. He knows the deepest desires of my heart and he will show me a rainbow after this storm is over. He always opens a window, and if I will just wait for the right time, he will pour out a blessing for me. This rainbow was a wonderful and unexpected reminder for me right now. Just in the past few days I’ve had many small experiences that have reminded me that there is always good in my life. And I truly think this particular rainbow was meant for me. Another reminder painted all across the sky that things will be better. This storm will end. It will take time. It may take years. But it will be beautiful again. Things will grow back, there will be change for me, for my family. This horrible period of my life will one day be like dust in the wind. Ashes from a terrible fire.
Beauty and love and peace will cover the burn. One day. And it only took a twenty mile arc of color to remind me again that there is always a silver lining. Rainbows always follow the storm.Alright… now I promise to stop being so emotional. Sheesh it’s been a week or two, right? Also, can we just pretend that this last pic has a beautiful arched rainbow instead of a choppy one…. turns out without a tripod handy panoramic multiphoto shots that span 20 miles are kind of hard…. So I lined up the mountains and let the rainbow do it’s crooked thing. Don’t judge. Just pretend it’s awesome.