Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains are on Fire

I typically try to stay out of anything that could cause a stir - politics and religious issues especially - because, quite frankly, I'm too ignorant (stupid?) to speak on them with any real insight or knowledge.  Most of the time, I'm not "up" on current events and I only find out about things well after they happen and then, what's the point of really trying to discuss it?  Another thing I do not do is spew verbal vomit around simply because I might feel particularly strongly about one thing or another.  Yes, occasionally my soap box does come out, but that happens when not only do I feel strongly about something, I know enough about it to be able to say something wise and truthful.

I'm not perfect.  I won't profess to be perfect - ever.  I feel like things around me are in shambles right now and I'm struggling to keep my head above water.  I'm drowning in negativity, and I am the first one to say - about myself - that I have a tough time keeping a positive outlook anyway.  Long-term depression kind of does that to a person.

Where was I going with this?  (I'm still caffeinating.  Please bear with me.)

I live in East Tennessee.  We've been in a drought for several weeks.  We haven't had any significant rain since July (I think).  It's exceptionally dry around here. Right now, there are wild fires raging all around us.  It's been really devastating for those in the direct paths of those fires.  But, admittedly, I've been doing what most people do: I've gone on with my life because, well, those fires are really not affecting me in any major way.  (Unless you consider the major breathing/allergy issues I've been having for the last few weeks due to the smoke in the air.)  I suppose it's selfish of me.  Uncaring?  Pretending like nothing is wrong while the world, for some people, is practically ending?  Yes.  All of those things.  But it's also self-preservation.  I'm already struggling to get out of bed in the morning and these little stories I tell myself (i.e.: Everything is awesome!  It's gonna be a great day!  You've got this!) are sometimes the only things that keep me moving forward.  I have people depending on me so I have to be okay, even if I'm not.

Sorry - I went a little bit...off...there.

Anyway, fires.  These fires didn't become real for me (though they are most definitely real) until yesterday, when they hit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  (Go Google "Wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN" for more information.)  Now, granted, I'm not really near these fires.  So, why are they affecting me more than the ones which have been and are much closer?  Because I've been there.  I know the places which are being destroyed by the inferno.  The area is one of the first places I ever went in Tennessee - before I even lived here - so it holds fond memories for me.  And the videos I've seen on social media of the mandatory evacuation of that area - and the fires literally licking the edges of the roads and flaming all around - daring escapes down the mountains.  I'm just devastated.  Not for myself, but for the folks who live and work in that area.

Tennessee has become my home in so many ways.  Not just because I live here.  Not just because I've made a life here.  Not just because I love where I am.  But it's the people.  It's the movement.  It's the way of life.  It's nature.  Nature most especially.  I might not be much of an outdoorsy person but ever since I first laid eyes on them, those Smoky Mountains got to me.  They take my breath away every time I see them.  And for me, that's saying something.  Nearly every day, driving to and from work, I think to myself, "I live in the most beautiful place in the country!"  And now, it's being destroyed by fire.  At least parts of it.

If you're a praying person, I'd like to ask for your prayers.  If' you don't pray, then just send good thoughts up.  Just last night, we've finally had a small amount of rain but more is desperately needed in order to really get a handle on all these fires.

Oh - and one more thing: They (authorities) suspect most of these fires were started by arsonists.  Yes, really.  What?  Who does that kind of thing?  We've either got one very determined fire bug or a lot of really sick people who would rather see beautiful things destroyed than lifted up and protected.  In my opinion, our world as we know it, is on the brink of destruction anyway.  Why speed up the process?


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