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Air academy chapel

Air academy chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the decades I have seen my share of fires and storms, floods and winds. When very young we had a minor fire at my parent’s place. No major damage, fortunately.

Many years later there was a terrible electrical fire at the house next door. I cannot forget that scene. In fact when I woke up very early in the AM and looked out at our back yard I thought it was fog rolling across, but quickly I realized it was smoke, and went downstairs. There was a glow on the front lawn, and on going outside there the fire was, blazing out of our neighbor’s roof in bold yellows and oranges. Trouble signals went off in my brain and I woke my folks. The firefighters blazed in and protected our yard, which has very tall trees (and conditions were dry, as I recall), and saved the neighbor’s home from complete destruction, though the damage was significant.

Years after that there was a huge house fire on Woodmont Boulevard, in a home that was about a day away from the people moving in. The fire engines could be heard rolling to the scene and when they stopped I just knew it had to be close, and from the response, potentially large and thus worth exploring to see if anything serious might happen. Well, I walked up to as close to the scene as safely possible, and there it was, this magnificent home we had seen being built going up in thick smoke and flame. There was a workman slumped in shock as he watched the consuming conflagration, lamenting the loss of the cathedral ceiling he worked so hard on. And all that was left were bits and pieces of wall and foundation. But that home has since been rebuilt.

A grocery store fire some years later was one I didn’t stick around long to watch. I saw the response, saw the fire companies attacking it, but when the wind turned and that smoke came my way I made a bee line away from that scene and got inside.

Across our nation there are fires of greater scope than these, raging across the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Watching the live pictures this evening of the fires near Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy, I could not help but feel sorrow for the people who will return and see what remains of their homes. It was plain from the video that many homes were burning, structures blazing rapidly up as the dryness consumes the state and lightning sets off the tinderbox. It is not a good feeling to stand or sit and watch that going on, and it is a hellish scene indeed.

Ironic, isn’t it, that there were a few storms in Colorado, but all they did was set off the fires and did not bring any worthwhile rain? In fact one of the meteorologists said that the air is so dry that the rainfall did not even reach the ground, and the winds from the storms that did materialize served only to fan the fires to what we can see tonight on our televisions. There are only so many first responders for those areas, and it will take a miraculous amount of soaking rain to help control those fires.

And then where is most of the water? Of all places it is in Florida, where certainly those citizens neither need nor want any more water, and where tornadoes have caused even more damage. Floods are washing out neighborhoods, and people there are in danger with trash and snakes in homes and yards. Yet much of the south remains in dry and drought conditions. Too much of one, too much of another, too little of one and the other…

What is happening with our weather? What has caused the extreme dryness in the west and south west and central US, the concentration of rain along the Gulf Coast, and the severe storms that happen more now at night than during the morning or afternoon in parts of the central US and the southern US? Why do storms in Colorado bring dry lightning and no decent rain to bring relief to the beleaguered residents and first responders? Is it El Nino? Is it La Nina? Is it God sending America a series of stern messages?

Whatever we call it or however we feel we have to explain what is going on, there are thousands of people in deep trouble. Now there are different roles we can play, different things we can do. Not all of us are first responders in the literal sense of being a firefighter, paramedic, or police officer, but we can pray and offer money and charitable relief for those affected. We can find out what we can do without so that those so hard – hit by natural disasters can have even the basics for life as they wait in shelters or with relatives or friends.

What can you do without? What… can you do? Think about it…. What will you do?

Colorado Sky

Colorado Sky (Photo credit: Let Ideas Compete)

Divi Logan and EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.