Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Fragile Nature of Our Lives

Hey everyone! I hope you had a good week! My week has been stressful, with much of my time being spent trying to get some testing done, at my teaching job. Let's just say that testing makes me a bit "testy," to put it nicely!

I did manage to get a couple of walks in, though. Yesterday, my gorgeous husband and I rediscovered a little beach about fifteen minutes walking time from our house. It's a beach not large enough to attract any attention from the public, or outsiders, but will certainly do for a quick afternoon swim or getaway for the few dozen denizens of our little community here. We are pretty isolated, but it is finds like this that make the isolation seem worth it.

The shoreline is spattered with long trees that seem to have come from the shore of the lake. They have been washed bare by the water and resemble a big pile of dinosaur bones, or perhaps some kind of exotic sea creature:

As I soak in the beauty of the lapping water, my gorgeous husband points out a billowing cloud of smoke on the far shoreline. We think it might be the forest fire which is burning about 3 hours east of us, the Manitoba-Ontario border.  No one has been hurt in this fire yet, but the billowing clouds in the horizon (not quite visible on this photo) remind us of how close to home it is.
The fires here in Manitoba are serious, but seem almost unmentionable when compared to the fire that the whole country, is now watching in horror. In Fort McMurray, an inferno rages, one created by the hot and dry conditions, one that no one could have predicted.

This fire, which has now raged for a week long, have forced the evacuation of 80, 000 residents and has burned down most of a city. Estimates say the fire is the size of Mexico City. The devastation is unimaginable. But I also feel so proud of my home province as I hear stories of heroes: a teacher and school bus driver who gets a group of students out of the city with only a school bus, a flat of water bottles and a few granola bars. Convoy drivers plowing through the rabble with supplies on the ground, determined to help in any way they can, unable to sit idly by and wait for the officials to get there.

These are my people, my fellow Canadians. I feel sad and proud. I have been to Fort McMurray. I flew there for work a few years back. I know that place: an isolated city plunked in the middle of the wilderness, where people come to make a fortune, but ended up staying for their neighbours. I am so relieved when I find out that my former students are okay, thanks to the Facebook check-in system.

My heart goes out to everyone involved. Many evacuees have now said goodbye to life as they knew it. They will be waiting for permission to go back, but perhaps many never will. Parents will have to explain to their children why they cannot go back to the home that they loved. There will be the indignity of living with strangers, the stress of not knowing what is next, and perhaps for some, a post-traumatic stress reaction to the horrifying memories they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

And besides the human loss, which is devastating, there is the loss of habitat. Those beautiful trees, hectares of sublime scenes, such as this one close to my house, are gone, leaving behind only the charred remains. I  have not heard what has happened to all of the animals of the forest, but that is so heartbreaking, too.

The fire on the news reminds me that my life here in the woods, as everywhere, is fragile. I do need to be grateful for every day, for every glimpse of beauty, for losing life as we know it is only a spark, only a phone call, only a cancer diagnosis away.

On Mother's Day today, hold your loved ones close. And say a prayer, if you pray, for those who have only their loved ones to hold, with most everything else gone.

Love Sharilee. Hey thanks so much for reading. I would love to hear your comments and input in the space below. Also, if you like what you are reading, sign up through my Facebook page. or receive posts by e-mail by joining here

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