Wild Grace

This will be short. The fires burning to the south of us have taken out our power. I’m writing on my phone which, thanks to Volkswagen ingenuity, I can charge even when the car isn’t running.

Even without power, our biggest worry right now is how fast we can eat everything that’s thawing in the freezer. For rawtarians, that’s not a huge issue. But we are the lucky ones. Somehow, our slice of the Valley though surrounded by literal wild fires so far is safe.

We heard from a friend today that the fire is moving 50 miles per hour due to high winds that have come in with the new weather system that brought cooler slightly moister air this morning. That same sweet change has turbo charged the fire. The town of Pateros to our south has been completely evacuated and suffered heavy losses to property. On the fire map provided online, the town of Brewster appears engulfed. And the pale blue arrows showing the wind direction are the culprit.

We’re in a state of alert. All that can be done is to monitor the fire and try to protect “structures:” homes, barns, shops. There’s a chance that by Sunday, conditions will be such that response teams will be able to begin containment. There’s also a chance that the wind will shift and bring the flames to Twisp.

It’s a glaring example of the impersonality of nature. Last night at the meeting at the lovely old Twisp Community Center, the gym was packed to hear a thorough status report. Mingling garrulously in the crowd after the meeting was a man who was in a kind of ecstatic shock, like a drunk man at a church gathering. As he bounced from group to small group, he was met with such love and compassion. Embraced by men and women, young and old.

Later, when he checked out ahead of us at Hank’s, the local grocery store, the checker told us that he had lost his home. As had Hank, the store owner and his children. And yet, there we were buying beer and chips thanks to the enormous generators that keep Hank’s open for ice and water, food and gas.

This morning I had a dream about the fires. I was eating at some sort of gathering place when a crowd gathered around someone who had fainted. When the placed her on my table to revive her, it was my beloved Guru, Amma. I looked down at Her and thought “I should put my hand on Her brow.” And at that moment, She opened Her eyes and gazed at me, that familiar glance, both brief and deep, before turning away to look at the people on Her other side.

What does it mean? I don’t know. Something about the nature of Grace, there in the midst of chaos, and our tenderness toward each other.

Pray for our Valley if you’re the praying sort. Or do some kindness the next chance you get. Life is burning fast.