“On the Darkest Night…


…look up to see the stars.”


I took that picture a few years ago when a rampaging wildfire was burning trees killed by pine beetles. During and after the fire we saw some of the most magnificent sunsets I’ve ever seen due to the amount of particulates in the air. When the last of it was extinguished, a third of our land was burnt but thankfully our home was intact. That couldn’t be said for hundreds of others. Some of them are still rebuilding, or simply moved away.

Taken from our front porch.

In the most serious evacuation we left when the flames were eating the ridge across from us. For a couple of hours a mile-high column of smoke moved steadily toward us. Smoke dyed the air orange, insects swarmed our house in exodus. We left not long after we saw the fire itself.

But between stuffy motel rooms and fast food restaurants, I wasn’t scared. I had my family and my dog. We were safe. Come whatever hell, we had each other and that was good enough for me.  It might be cliché, but the community came together. Volunteers, firefighters, thank you.

Today, you can hardly tell there was a fire. There are some dead trees, but grasses greened up everything. It looks healthier than five years ago.

Same picture, taken this morning.

That experience has affected my writing considerably. I’m glad for the opportunity to live through this and hopefully help other people through similar things.

So, even when things look bleak, remember what’s really important to you.

Live fearlessly.


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