Her Reminder

When I moved to Temecula from Washington State, there were many things I needed to adjust to.    

I remember clearly the first rain.  The local news channels broke with headings, "Storm Watch, 2001".  I looked up at the sky, clouds of the non-threatening (almost cute) variety painted the sky.  Barely a sprinkle, I might even call it mist.

But here in southern California, plans get rescheduled, soccer games are cancelled, people drive {waaaaaay} slower and roads back up with rainwater much easier when it rains.  I also remember when it hit me that my girls are growing up as Californians … so I need to work on making sure they have the opportunities to enjoy the rain as I did growing up.  To not fear it, to not let it get them down.  Opportunities which are few and far between. 

Wildfires are another phenomenon that I'm learning about.  Their vastness.  Their capability of destruction.  Their predictable return each summer and autumn. 

Living in a cookie-cutter housing development, there is a sense of security {probably false} that the fire would have no interest in burning my house down.  

About 60 miles east there is some beautiful country: it's the country I drove through on my way to Palm Springs on my Solo Adventure.  As of yesterday it was evacuated due to fire, one of two burning east of me, the plumes of smoke visible on my way to and from work each day.  And yesterday, as the wind changed directions, the smoke contributed its familiar fragrance to the air.

I am well aware that for so many, Mother's Nature's flames are hot and fearsome and real. They may remind some of a more mournful time, they may bring back the feelings of panic, of helplessness.  Our bravest respond and work tirelessly and dangerously in ways I'll never fully comprehend. These are feelings I imagine for others, when I see flames on my TV or when I see the smoke from the comfort of my cookie cutter community.  

Last night on my drive home I felt torn by my feelings of awe as my eye wandered toward the smoke.  How could I find so beautiful something that causes such destruction?  But here, in my distance from the fire, where I can return home confidently and without worry, I am reminded how small I am in this world.  How insignificant my concerns are.  How little control I really have. How Mother Nature doesn't care what I think; how She shouldn't.  Somehow I feel grateful for her reminder.

I did not know when I moved here, that the smoke from a nearby fire lends the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. I don't understand the science involved, I don't know if it's even a true phenomenon, but something about how the sun's rays scatter through the smokey air that puts me in a place of awe again, as it did this morning. 

 © Houseman 2013