Yesterday, a friend sent me an article warning of extreme fire conditions, with high winds predicted and very dry, hot weather all over our region. She added the words, “Praying hard.” At the moment, I was tired and a bit preoccupied, but I wondered what was around the corner for us. I spent some time outside watering and moved some succulents and other things to secure spots, turning tables and chairs on their sides or upside down so the winds wouldn’t catch them. Our new bamboo plants, which are quite large, were already beginning to blow in the wind, making that very distinct sound reminiscent of the bamboo forests I’ve visited in China. I placed heavy cherry wood and a heavy wagon full of rocks near those pots to help them remain upright. The Chinese saying about bamboo and resilience echoed in my mind. Be like bamboo–it bends but it does not break.
By evening, the smoke eerily rolled in, darkening the sky, and ashes falling made us wonder how far away these fires really were. I checked and learned of fires quite close–several bad ones in Scio on Hungry Hill and one out in Talbot. A structural fire in Salem also created more smoke and concern. We live near a very dry farm field…one house away from us. I did more things to secure our property outside. As often happens, just before going outside, I dropped something in the pantry, breaking some glass pie pans and getting glass in my foot when it shattered. Thankfully I think I found and removed the glass shards quickly and called Jerry to help me. I had been trying to organize my medicines and supplements for the coming month. Once he came to clean up the glass (how many times have I dropped and broken glass since we’ve been married? I’ve lost track), he told me to sit down and rest. But soon I saw the wind whipping and smoke rolling in, so I went outside to secure things even better.
Around 5 am, I awoke and opened the blinds. The winds are still whipping. We thankfully have air purifiers running so that helps, and we put painters tape around the front door. So less smoke is getting into our house. I called my Mom at 6 am after reading that evacuation orders were being issued in a town very close to their acreage. They also live on a very dry grassy hill, so the risk is high if fire were to reach their area. I encouraged her to pack their medicines and be ready in case an order were to be issued in the coming hours. We talked a bit, not too frightened, but aware that readiness equals wisdom in times like this. I read her the article with updates on how the fires have been spreading up the Santiam Canyon necessitating evacuations levels being activated, and some Go Now orders. We talked about how some of those are just 12 miles from our house, too, so we’ll need to monitor this and I’ll get out our Bug Out bag, too, just in case.
I’m thankful that my husband was a Green Beret. He’s very good in a crisis. I’m a retired counselor, so I’m not half bad either. We make a good team. But like many we love, we have physical limitations to consider as well at this stage of life. My power chair is in the garage. I had planned to drive to Salem today and get the lift on the van fixed. But with these winds and smoky conditions, I’m not going to do that. So I have no way to haul my power chair if we need to evacuate. I’ll go top off the gas for our vehicles later this morning. Thankfully our tanks are fairly full. I’ll water our bamboo and other plants and trust the Living Water to see us through this eventful time.
Pandemics, riots, wild fires, smoke. Yet, hope, peace and love abide because Immanuel remains with us in the storm. Jesus spoke peace to the winds, “Be still.” He calmed the waves. He can help get these fires under control and help us weather this stormy season of life, too.
He sees you. He hears you. He is glad to be with you and treats your weaknesses tenderly. He understands how big this is for you. He can do something about what you’re going through.
Rest in His love. And go get your Bug Out bag ready in case things get even more wild around here.