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A new layer of constant dread

We now know what 2020 had in mind for September. Most of the West Coast of the US, including near where I live, is on fire.

Please don’t try to debate me on climate change. This is a direct result of ignoring science and those who warned us. No amount of ‘raking the forest floor’ would’ve stopped this.

I live between Seattle and Tacoma. I love the area, and have been here for the last 25+ years. It’s usually cooler weather, and asking people if they saw the mountain (Mt. Rainier) today is a normal thing. Especially during the summer.

Less than 30 miles from me, the Sumner Grade Fire is burning. The air is unhealthy, and it’s one of the strangest skies I’ve ever seen. Being that I remember the skies in SE WA as Mt. St. Helens erupted, that’s saying something.

That was taken from our deck at 8:40 this morning. Like I said, it’s strange.

The Seattle area was ground zero for COVID-19. We had the first confirmed case and death to the north of me. I remember going to a Seattle Sounders game as the panic began, the disease spreading. Downtown Seattle was already trying to get ahead of things. The streets were almost bare.

The fires have added a new layer of constant dread to all of us up and down the West Coast. It’s not enough to worry about COVID. We’re now watching air quality reports, keeping track of large fires like we used to view traffic reports, and checking in with friends and family. I have some who either have evacuated, or are on standby to do so.

We all have our breaking point. That moment when we simply cannot keep up with the hits being sent our way. We sob into our pillows, cuddle our pets, and hold those we love close. And then we take deep breaths, find our strength, and start to fight back.

This year has been one of the most devastating I’ve ever heard of. Certainly the worst in my lifetime that I remember living through. I was alive during the Vietnam War, but barely remember the newscasts. This is something I’ll be telling my grandchildren about decades from now.

I want to tell them not just how I made it through, but give them stories about complete strangers offering their support. I want it to be about how we showed each other we care, regardless of our differences. I want it to be a lesson in how our nation united itself and started to talk instead of blame.

How we decided that listening was better than shouting. That acceptance was infinitely better than fear. That love and compassion were the defining virtues of our nation instead of hatred and anger.

As to the rest of 2020…the year is not over. We cannot rest. The burden of caring gets damn heavy, but I know I’m strong enough to carry it.


Sample Saturday: “Through the Opera Glass”
I want my money back

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