Clouds gather overhead. They thicken, culminating into pure darkness.
From the caliginosity, a spark is born. The spark is nurtured until it reaches its precipice. It is too much for the darkness to handle. Suddenly, it escapes the clutches of the gloominess. In wondrous fashion, the spark has evolved into a towering lightning bolt, and, with a thunderous crackle, strikes the earth below it. It’s a beautiful phenomenon, an instance of the Circle of Life, which happens in the blink of an eye. The bolt is born; the bolt is gone. Just like that.
Yet, not all of Earth’s inhabitants find the allure of this wonder. Sometimes, the death of the bolt kindles the creation of another spark. That spark catches wind and erupts into scattered embers amongst the dry earth. Just as your first blink missed the life and death of the booming bolt, your second blink misses the ensuing chaos of a sudden wildfire. Citizens, frantically filled with adrenaline, rush to salvage what they can in a moment’s notice. Onlookers, with mouths gaping, stare in horror. How could something so beautiful birth something so savage?
Now what do you witness? Are you still focused on the disparity, or do you behold its true beauty?
Some choose to only pay attention to the pandemonium of natural disaster. Some, afflicted with mental illness, are forced into this perspective.
Yet, those gifted with expansive vision are able to see the grace garnered by the plight. While there is a fire marching towards massive destruction, as though it was led by the ghost of William Sherman himself, preventative measures take place. Brave men and women of the community rally together to combat what seems like a David and Goliath-like fight. If they’re unable to deflate it, they at least direct it to where the least amount of damage will arise. Mother Nature then hears the Earth and its inhabitants’ pleas for mercy, and she devises a plan to extinguish the flames. She conjures up a storm, similar to that started this whole incident, which weeps for the fire to sleep. And it does. It listens.
Those affected by the fire are lifted up by the community in their hard times. They will go on, and their earthly losses will be reconciled in time; but, they may have lost something they cannot replace, whether it be a memento, a pet, or a loved one. Simultaneously, the Earth begins its reconstruction. The scorched ground is unsightly, yet fruitful, and the forestry will grow back even more lush and vibrant with time. The wildlife will refurnish their territory. The world will return to balance, and even stronger before.
I’m not saying wildfires are great; I send my condolences out to anyone that has been affected. I was in Bondurant, Wyoming — just miles from the origin — when the Cliff Creek fire broke out. It is still raging up in the alpines, and well over 30,000 acres, contained until snowfall, experts say. I saw the pure panic and mobilization of Bondurant’s community. Such a small town mustered so much strength, it was a truly life-changing experience.
We have to be alert of the fact that pain is in store for the near future, but fortitude will rise from the ashes. We must only be aware that misery happens for our benefit. Without it, would we appreciate the beauty of the world? Would we appreciate the joys of life?
The bountiful tears fallen from my eyes in the wake of my sister’s suicide has rewarded me with immense appreciation for my family that remains, and greater literacy of mental health. Quitting my job in the midst of uncertainty led to a far more opportunistic occupation that I find true joy partaking in. My parents’ divorce when I was younger changed my surroundings for the better, and expanded my amazing family even further.
Out of darkness, light will prevail. Whatever your beliefs are, believe in a better tomorrow. Believe that the world is opportunistic, not tragic. Believe in love and hope, not hatred and animosity. When mankind is roused by holistic, beneficial ideology, great things have been accomplished. Greater than any holy war, any terrorist attack, any loss of loved ones. Civilizations are built, role models are molded, and from death comes life.
This is the way I will continue living my life. I have to in order to respect the loss of my sister, and other loved ones. It is the way I’ll continue to preach. It is the way I strive to exemplify for others. It is the way that will lead us through tiring hardships. It is the way the light will be born out of darkness.