Well, I’m back from hiatus, but I haven’t really blogged a whole lot other than pictures. When I scheduled my hiatus back in May I had no idea how important this time off was going to be for me.
About this time of year I usually write a post about how tired I am of the heat and how I detest the heat. I sometimes say things like “this is the summer of my discontent.” Really, though, every summer gets that way because I don’t like heat and I don’t tolerate it well at all.
The only thing about this summer that is different is that the heat started early and hit us with a vengeance. I have family who live in places that get much hotter than it usually gets here and they are always surprised that I don’t have A/C. I always tell them it’s because the weather rarely gets hot enough to really need it. This summer I longed for A/C like crazy.
The summer was tough for my city and my state. I’ve been on the outskirts of all that has happened and some say that we out here on the fringe weren’t really affected. I don’t believe that’s true. While not directly affected we feel the effects especially when it happens to friends and people we know. My heart has cried out over the things that have happened.
See, our summer started with a bad rain storm in early May. I’ve probably said this before, but this is a semi-arid state. We need moisture pretty much all the time. Rain like this doesn’t really help. The rain came in torrents in early May. Not for a long duration, but in buckets. So much rain that streets flooded and cars floated.
Not only was there rain, there was hail. Estimates to fix roofs and automobiles were in the millions.
Just weeks later I was at Dad’s on a Saturday when I saw a plume of smoke over the northwest part of the city. It was a forest fire burning in a canyon just outside the city limits. Being semi-arid forest fires are common. Still, we’ve never experienced one so close to the city.
Through the work of firefighters and other emergency crews the fire was kept at bay for three days. The Tuesday after the fire started an outflow wind whipped the fire up the canyon wall and it raced down the other side into the city.
People had already been evacuated and many were still in the process of leaving the area as the fire burned into populated areas. Pictures that afternoon showed a hideous orange-black horizon with long lines of cars making their way to safety. One family from my church was evacuating in that line of cars. The mom and daughter were in one car and dad was in another car. While trying to calm her daughter the mom was praying as she wondered if the fire would roar right over their car or whether they would die from suffocation.My house is approximately 25 miles from where the fire entered the city and that night we had smoke and ash billowing over our part of the city also. I was glued to the TV and Facebook that night as pictures of homes burning were showed. Before the night was over 347 homes burned to the ground and 2 people died.
It was unlike anything this city has ever experienced. The community, though, came together and supported each other in a way I didn’t think possible. It made me proud to be a part of the city.
As the city began the recovery and rebuilding process the heat raged on. We get only a handful of days that get above 90 degrees in a normal summer and they come in late July or August. This year we had day upon day of 90 plus degree days starting in June and not ending until just a few weeks ago. I told my dad today, “Hard to believe that in the past 75-80 degree temperatures were hot for me and now when I see them in the forecast I rejoice for the cooler weather.” Needless to say, this fall loving girl is just waiting for the cooler weather.
Just a week or so after the fire was contained and life moved on, the state woke up to the news that a man had walked into a crowded theater in a suburb of Denver and opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Again, I was on the outskirts of this tragedy, but my heart broke for the families involved.
The saying goes that tragedy comes in threes and this summer proved that right. A few weeks after the shooting in Denver a local motorcycle police officer was responding to a call and was fatally injured in a traffic accident. The city reeled after yet another senseless tragedy.
In the midst of this hard summer there were some bright spots for me. In late June my siblings all came to town. Twelve of my fifteen immediate family members were all together at the same time. I love my family and enjoyed the chaos of having them all around.Just days after the last of the family members left I flew off to visit my extended family in the heartland. Have I ever told you how much I love my family? It was a great vacation with aunts, uncles, and cousins.
This summer has a lot of people questioning and in pain. I try to cling to what I know is true and that is found in this verse. “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13In future posts I will give you some insight on my vacation and I will reveal to you how I ended up with a streak of green hair!