After so many years of restrictions on the healthy harvesting of timber which weakened them and made them susceptible to all sorts of insects and also simply were allowed to die and fill the forest with fuels, combined with very dry conditions, what we feared would happen has happened and we find ourselves in a 'perfect storm' of wildfires.
This is what our normal view from Gracewood looks like and oh how grateful I will be when it returns.
|Normal View from Gracewood|
|And this is what our sunrises look like now, day after day the sky is filled with smoke turning the sun and the moon blood red.|
Every morning we check the sites reporting the fires and often find they've doubled overnight. We are praying for rain but also that the lightning that comes with it won't start new fires.
So many have found themselves in worse conditions than we have, the fire just 5 miles from us started a month ago and being one of the first we had immediate response from the professional fire fighting teams and we're very thankful to say that it is 80% contained and not expected to grow. Those whose fires started after that often found that there was no one to come when they called for help.
8 miles southeast of us a much larger fire complex has grown to 11,000 acres with just 5% contained. Finally some military personnel arrived this week as well as some fire fighters from Australia and New Zealand and even though this particular fire has a lot of potential for growth, now at least we have more resources to fight it.
The air has been exceedingly bad, they are measuring levels in Spokane more hazardous than they've ever recorded. Having asthma I have been confined to the house with air conditioner, air purifiers and humidifiers running around the clock.
And that is why I said that cross stitch can be very therapeutic!
I never have 'cabin fever' in winter since even if it is a little stroll I love to be out in the cold and snow, but now we are experiencing another kind of 'trapped' feeling as we sit inside surrounded by choking smokey skies.
Stitching the model of 'Kyoto' has been a great way to get my mind on something else and I've found cross stitch really can take you to another better 'place' while you are working a project.
I wasn't able to get a good outside photo of Kyoto, the background is much lighter and brighter than this photo shows, but I am very happy with these three shades of blue which are close to correct in this pic.
|Jasper's 2nd Birthday|
One of the sad things in all of this has been the animals who can't get in out of the smoke or who have fled one area of fire to find only more fire. We've seen an increase in deer and bear visitors to our bird feeding area and we've been stripping our apple trees to pile them up for whatever animal comes by needing a bite. The birds are cleaning our feeders out daily since they are finding it difficult to find their usual food in the forest.
It has also been a challenge to keep our Chessie, Jasper, in the house and out of the smoke when he is a rambunctious two year old who needs lots of exercise.
This has definitely been a stressful time, with suitcases packed if we have to evacuate and the challenges each day is bringing, but I'm reminded of the most oft mentioned phrase in the Bible - 'and it came to pass' - and am grateful that this too 'shall pass'.