I was totally unprepared. The devastation stretched as far as I could see.
Over 262 square MILES of the most glorious terrain I have ever been blessed to love…destroyed.
Utter ashen moonscape.
I wept, silent tears speaking words I could not say.
I weep still as I write this.
I live in North Central Washington in a wildly remote and beautiful land which has been brought to its knees by the greatest fires our state has ever seen.
Mother nature is powerful, yes, and there IS life beneath the soil, but this space we love, the Kettle Range, will not recover in my lifetime, or my children’s.
I ache to do justice to the beauty that now lives only in our hearts, so the stories can be passed to future generations. That one day, they will find themselves breathless with wonder on the mountaintop with the panorama of vibrant life bursting forth around them.
The fact that you are here tells me you have experienced firestorms in your own life. Perhaps not of literal fire, but of something just as significant.
People who have not cannot BEGIN to imagine what this is.
To awaken in the morning having briefly forgotten, only to remember in a split second that everything in their lives has changed.
That it was not a bad dream.
That you need to get the f*** up and breathe and walk forward and do your damnedest to survive. That people are counting on you and that instead of curling up into a ball, you must stand up and help the ones whose worlds have also been shattered….all while holding your own heart together with a filament finer than silk, acutely aware you are dangerously close to falling apart at any moment.
But YOU know, because you have been here, too.
And this, my love, tells me you have extraordinary courage.
The courage that builds lives.
The alchemy of courage ensures more than your mere survival. It allows you to grieve your losses, honoring the memory of what was, while stepping forward to rebuild something stronger, sturdier, both within your heart and your world at large.
For YOU, I want to say: I am here. I love you. And I believe in your capacity to open your heart once more despite the pain. Because there is something immeasurably rich at the other side of the firestorm, something that will be passed down to all the generations.
We are survivors, you and I, and we will rise like the Phoenix as many times as we must.
Let us remember to take our time in the healing process, not to rush so fast that we pretend our grief does not exist.
Let us ask for support when we need it and cry when we wish.
And in the process, for a dose of incredible alchemy, I encourage you to reach for Liz Gilbert’s newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
Because I couldn’t make it past the Contents without choking up at the magic in her words:
Part 1 – Courage
Part 2 – Enchantment
Part 3 – Permission
Part 4 – Persistence
Part 5 – Trust
Part 6 – Divinity
The recipe for all good things in my life, and, I suspect, in yours.
If you are willing to share your story of surviving and rising again, I will be deeply honored.
With Love and Alchemy,