Over the past twelve days wildfires have indiscriminately ripped through Northern California’s wine country, burning over 179,000 acres, destroying almost 7,000 structures and (the darkest statistic of all) killing at least 42 people.
I’m sure there are many windows flung open in my hometown tonight. The humble, pattering raindrops probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Little do they know the sweet sense of blessing they carry: the gift of moist, clean air for the first time in twelve days, a fresh breeze to evict some of the smoke trapped in our homes and lungs, and relief that all of those toiling fire crews will get at least a bit of a break.
Firefighters came from around the world to attack this greedy monster that consumed so much yet never seemed satiated. Someone had to stop this inferno, and these determined men and women did. I don’t think I will ever fully grasp how any human being can choose to run toward flames while everyone else flees. I am in awe of this strong fiber that runs through their core.
So this rain seems to be marking an end and a beginning: an end to this surreal and at times terrifying twelve days, and the beginning of our recovery, as ordeal-weary, grateful souls stand side by side, holding each other up, holding hope together.
There are no words for how thankful we are to all of those who have risked and sacrificed so much for us.