Bone-dry. Athirst and parched, the land is burning.
Wildfire skims across a lake of forest, skipping along the ground like a rock on water. It seeps, unconstrained, as spring floods do elsewhere. It is furious and determined and cruel and stubborn. Unstoppable, it is fueled and fed generously and runs unchecked until all is stripped and black and gone.
It is fire born of the union of hotter temperatures and an arid winter and beetle-killed pine and overgrowth. It is fire that ignores homes and lives, bullying those drawn by dreams to a place of beauty and risk, people who settled into hopeful and eager lives despite the outside chance of heartbreak. It is fire that thumbs its nose at slithering development and challenges that view of progress. It is fire that comes with fair warning and the admonition of cyclical drought that seems only to worsen.
At day’s end, there is a defiant glimpse of grandeur. The sky bleeds color and through the haze the sunset speaks to the incredible energy that is doing great harm.
Its whisper says that it is not terribly far off.
But far enough.
Its echo scolds. And reminds us to pay attention.