by Suzy Right
In brief… wild fires & natural disasters seem to abound these days. But, what can everyone do about these potential hazards? A few simple steps, mostly in pre-planning… but also asking, “what is the climate of my own thought?”
The wind picked up today, tossing leaves around like rain drops. The cottonwoods shed their balls of cotton, like blowing snow filling the gray skies. I hoped this would bring rain, perhaps helping to quell the fires down south. These past several summers have been particularly dry for the Rockies, setting the stage for dicey hot days that can explode into wild fires. And why do the fires seem so bad? Because over the decades, we’ve elected to stop culling the forests of dead and weak trees– leaving the weak ones more susceptible to infestations and dry timber. The weak trees pull resources from the air and soil, diminishing them for the healthier trees, which normally would be strong enough to ward off invasions of beetle kill. You know you’re in beetle kill forests by the acres and acres of brown, dead pines that supply fuel for wild fires.
Over the centuries, Mother Nature has ridded the forests naturally of dead trees: through wild fires. Sometimes, the fires have burned a path from the east coast to the west, scientists have said, after analyzing soil samples. Even the summer of wild fires in Yellowstone Park two decades ago, brought amazing rebirth and new growth to the land. There is purpose in everything. But now, whole populations of people have the desire to ‘live in the mountains.’ Our family thought about moving to the mountains, too, and we did– and soon moved away after a few brutal winters and hot, dry summers. I do understand the desire to be in the mountains. They are beautiful, usually cool, and packed with animals who live in concert with nature. There’s something special about sharing your neighborhood with deer, elk, foxes, and eagles. But there’s nothing magical about a wild fire when you’re trying to flee upon narrow, winding roads. My heart goes out to the good folks of Colorado Springs and the 40,000 who already have fled their homes– and the hundreds of those who already have lost their homes. Sadly, the reports of arson rang out over the air waves, adding to frustrations and angst. God Bless our neighbors… and God Bless the fire fighters who risk life and limb trying to extinguish those fires.
I watched the snowy cotton and fresh green aspen leaves dancing on the wind, as I listened to the thunder rolling across the landscape, and prayed for safety– and for rain. And for common sense. It is time to re-evaluate our collective reasons to return to culling our forests– selling the dead stuff for safe usage of fuel and warmth: to use resources safely and prudently. Not just to wait for Mother Nature to dispose of over-crowded forests through lightning strikes– or arsonists who play with our property and our lives. This isn’t a game, but time to re-think our forest culling, and rid the landscape of these fire traps in order to keep the forests strong. And safe. This isn’t about just saving money on home insurance– even if a home builder could insure their property in this market– but rather, a focus on saving lives. And everyone can play a part. Here’s how:
1. If you live in the forest, cut a wide swath around your home, free of trees: to keep fire at bay, but also so fire fighters can get their vehicles around the property;
2. Clean your gutters, keeping them free from leaves and pine combs which are tinder for fires;
3. Get a clay roof: something that repels flames;
4. If your home has been built using fire-proof materials, (as much as fire-proofing can be,) be sure to close your windows so wild fire flames cannot spread into the home. Interior woods, paints, curtains, furniture are not fire-proof, but fire tinder;
5. Think like a forest fire: what stuff is lying around your house, garage, yard, that can fuel fires? Dispose of these fire catchers;
6. Here’s a radical idea: install a pool. Get a pump, generator and adequate hose for dosing your home in case of fire.
Double check these suggestions with local codes and regulations: make sure you have a solid plan. Practice an escape route with family and neighbors: keep duplicate essential papers (mortgage, insurance, legal doc’s, etc.;) at hand for quick ‘grabbing and go.’ Forest dwelling brings risks: reduce risks with pre-planning.
Also, while we’re on the subject, ask yourself, ‘what is the climate of my own thought?’ If it is true that God has given us dominion over all the earth, ask how our thoughts affect the world. What are we thinking? And expressing? Hatred for our neighbors? Bitterness toward others? Fear of what we do not understand? Jealousy, greed, dis-satisfaction with the world? Then our thoughts may be poisoning our behaviors. The climate of our thoughts is as important as the climate of weather conditions.
The wind has stopped and the rain pelts down in heavy drops. I think about the great gift this life is. It has been said, that, what a man thinketh, so it is. Let us take this opportunity first to give thanks to be living in the greatest nation on earth, growing pains though there may be. Secondly, let us begin to truly ‘love our neighbor as we love ourselves,’ and practice what we preach. Find ways to help others. Mahatmas Ghandi has taught us to, “be the change you want to see in this world.” Do not wait for others to lead your thoughts, but lead your own thoughts. The time for thinkers has come.
One final note: today, as Father’s Day, I want to wish each and every father on earth, past, present and future, a very Happy and Blessed Father’s Day, indeed. My own dad, a retired city fireman, taught me to respect the power of fire, and for that, I thank him. And I thank Our Father for this great life, wild fires and all.
–Blessed day, one and all!
What Is The Climate Of My Thought?
By Suzy Right, llc Copyright 2013