Wildfire

I had a peculiar feeling the other day, so I sat down to write what the Lord was saying to me. He said this is how it is, how it’s going to be.

It’s like the day you look up and there is smoke on the horizon and, dang, now there’s fire, man is it moving fast, and you see that no-one is escaping the fire -woomp- there goes another neighbor and you look at your neighbor’s place being consumed and you say “Nooo”, but there they go, they are gone already. And the fire races on, it is heading for your place now, but it does a funny thing even though the wind is blowing like crazy, even though the flames are jumping from ten feet high to forty during the gusts. the fire is splitting and it’s going around your place, you were looking for your big shovel and testing the water hose, but now you just stand there and watch in puzzled fascination as the conflagration roars on by.

Then it hits you that none of your neighbors got away in time. and you run across the field over to Archie’s place and you look for the family, but they didn’t make it. and you fall on your knees and hot tears make rivulets on your ash stained cheeks. And it’s tough being alive when the neighbors didn’t even see it coming. They didn’t see it coming, but somehow you did. And you’re standing there alone for a while, surrounded by charred shapes, stunned, when you hear a little cry, you realize it’s a child and you run toward the sound and sure enough Becky, the three year old, is hanging onto the inside rim of the open cistern. She is terrified, you reach in and you coo and make soothing sounds and you hold back the tears. You know that putting the child in the tank was probably the last thing her mother did. So you pick her up and you hold the child close and you tell her it’s OK, and you walk home slowly. You hold the child closer and wrap your jean jacket around her, she is so cold from being wet and you don’t mind that she is getting you wet. She is so exhausted that she falls asleep in your arms still crying a little.

You are crushed by the devastation, your friends couldn’t be saved, it was just too quick, too thorough, yet there is joy in the saving of one life. Little whirlwinds of black ash swirl ahead of you as you carry your precious cargo home.

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