For the past several weeks I’ve been preoccupied with the unstable weather activity all across the U.S. Nearly a month ago my friend in Ft. Collins learned that they lost their family cabin in the mountains to wildfires that now have consumed tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes on Colorado’s Front Range. Another friend relocated in May from the east coast to southern New Mexico to care for her aging parents. She missed the torrential coastal rains but is sweltering under record breaking heat. Friends in Wyoming receive daily updates as fires grew from a few hundred acres to over 20,000 acres overnight; the shifting winds move it to within a mile of their house or push it northward into deep canyons. Montana friends are plowing to keep trenches between their ranch grasslands and nearby mountains that are blazing; they herd their cattle from summer range to the river. No electricity for them for more than a week; generators keep the well pump and freezers going. Friends in northern Minnesota had to haul their washer and dryer, furniture and boxes of stored items up from two feet of water standing in their basement as day after day of rains left 14 counties to be declared disaster areas.
Here, locals called it a cyclone that two weeks ago cut a swath through our valley, touching down here and there, knocking out towering cottonwoods, uprooting birch clumps, breaking the tops off cedars. It picked up my green house, twice, flew it like a kite, turned it around a couple of times and set it down upright between the house and the shop building. The potted tomatoes and peppers inside stood untouched.
That was all in June. After a total of 4 days – yes, 4 – of sun in June, we’ve had 5 days of sun in a row – July 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. I can believe summer has arrived! I am grateful. So every one of my friends who experienced conditions far more devastating than I did - they, too, are grateful. Including my friend in Wyoming, who, with fire just a mile from her door, tripped over the hose while soaking the trees, the roof, the outbuildings. She broke her leg, hit her head hard on stone and is wheel chair bound. She calls it a "slight impediment" if evacuation becomes mandatory.
I’m grateful that conditions where I live are pretty good. Even more than being grateful for our conditions of relative calm here, I’m extremely grateful and admiring of my strong hearted friends. In spite of overwhelming difficulties that have been lingering for days and weeks, out of their control, each in his and her own way managed to tap into a reservoir of humor and find the good. From each friend, I hear the same touching message:
“In the morning and at night, I offer prayers of thanks.”