And We Watch it All Burn Away

There is no possible way at the moment to be a resident of Oregon and not take note that the entirety of the state, it seems, is burning. The skies have grayed, filling valleys with dense smoke, replacing our beloved rain with delicate flakes of ash. And the fires are close. Our safest havens and most treasured places, those that have been protected for so long as to constitute little more than a pile of tinder, are burning towards vistas, lodges, highways and restaurants. It has, finally, become impossible to ignore.
Not that we haven’t tried. In truth, forest fires are a relatively new phenomenon in the psyches of Oregonians. For decades, they have been a growing concern but for most residents, they remained intangible. Forest fires to the average Oregonian were something that happened out of the valley, where most of us live, or out in the far arid reaches of the state, perhaps along the border of California. Fires did not force Oregonians to cancel vacations, wear masks, or evacuate their homes.
They do now.
Too late, as is common in the mind’s grappling with natural phenomenon and our susceptibility to them, we realize the dangers, and the potential loss. For now, all we can do is watch it burn away.