Autumn is swelling in fury this year.
Montana is burning. My heart is overwhelmed with the tension of the natural presence of fire vs the agony of watching people lose their land, crops, livelihood, health. Thank God, we haven’t lost any more first responders this season, but I watch families anxiously wait for the snow to fall and can’t imagine what it feels like to have someone out there. Three firefighters deployed their shelters this weekend, thinking they were trapped, until the wind shifted and they walked out, unscathed.
Mother Nature is screaming, roaring, raging this season, and I have been meditating on the fact that humanity has set her up for this, in our disregard for her health. There is a direct correlation between heat and fire; the hotter the atmosphere, the higher the fire danger and the harder it is to control. We have to realize this. We have to work harder to slow and reverse the effects of human caused warming.
Last night was the first visible sunset in at least a month, as the wind shifted south. The color lingered, amplified through the smoke, for nearly half an hour, the whole ridgeline glowing ember red. I don’t know how to hold the beauty of that moment in contrast with the reasons for the beauty. So much of this season is balancing two sides, holding tension, working through it. It feels important to write about, if for no other reason than to honor the feeling.
Autumn has brought joy, too.
The joy of watching dear ones marry those they love. The joy of cool grass under my feet during an evening stroll at home. The joy of quiet nights at camp, the shoreline to ourselves. The joy of new challenges and new responsibilities.
Camp was quiet this morning and I passed turkeys, deer, rabbits, squirrels & chipmunks as I walked to my car- all of them gathering food for winter. The squirrel caches are huge this year; I hope they’re right about the coming snow totals.
The larch will begin to lose their needles soon, but only after they blaze golden against Autumn’s sky. They have given me the gift of courage- a reminder that pieces of us have to die to be resurrected in a new season. Giving up jealousy for joy, trading discomfort with grace, embracing change instead of fighting.
Every season feels like my favorite in the Flathead, but really, I think Autumn is the real winner. Hoping for rain & looking forward to the quiet. Happy Autumn!