A Human Forest Fire


The fire’s been burning for the better part of five days now and I find it hard to believe that anything of value could possibly remain.  Those who were smart either moved far away or buried their treasure deep in the soul.  I foolishly thought I could keep everything intact by occasionally hosing it down with a garden hose.  I now seem to have lost everything.  How foolish of me, to think a simple hose would be sufficient against hell’s fury.  Things that once seemed beautiful are now distorted and cracked.   Music has melted, the sun – obscured from the smoke.  The sweet smell of summer is now an acrid stench and the odor seems to color even the food we eat.

Were it physical things lost, I’d not be in such arrears; the loss however is emotional.  I’ve lost a bit of my wife; I lost my daughter, my sons have moved further away – not for the reason of flame but for my reaction to losing control of it.  I pushed them out.

Even now, I can hear the crackle from the embers…banked for the evening with down comforter and darkness surrounding.  She’s laid out, salted heavily with drugs like a Yule log - she’ll burn for hours in that state.  Most would welcome her warmth in the morning but I, I loathe the coming of sunshine.  Far better to be chilled in the morning than warmed by the flames of uncontrolled fire.

My forest fire; she’s actually human.  It’s not her fault that she consumes us.  Not her fault that we weren’t prepared for the ravages.  Were I a Jack Pine I should welcome her flame, as only through fire is there new growth.  But a Jack Pine, I’m not. 

Bethany is sick and we can’t figure out what it is.  Doctors can only guess, medication does nothing, specialists make special guesses and simple commands like “take her temperature” result in black eyes and bruised ribs.

Five days we’ve endured the flame of destruction.  Five days’ we’ve watched her destroy herself and the world around her.  Five days we’ve tried to intervene – five days, that’s three more than Jesus suffered - but who’s counting?

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