Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Forest Fires

The glorious weather continues, and with a couple days now of low humidity I expect that my trip to the senior fitness place will be an easy, complete one. Perhaps I’ll even add a few reps to some of the routines I follow. One would think with this wonderful, inspiring weather I’d be just chock full o’ stuff to write about. Not to be, I guess.

This has the makings of being a sort of boring week. I have nothing on my calendar except my two senior fitness sessions, one of which is today. I guess just about everyone is taking advantage of the great weather we have forecast for this week and staying away from many of the blogs, forums, and news sources I normally visit.

I suppose there are still many things about which I could rant. Health reform, the repeal of the Maine tax shift, the repeal of the Maine gay marriage law, the reduction of excise taxes, a citizen initiative to make simply raising taxes more difficult (TABOR II), and a slew of other things are all in season as the 2009 election season gets underway today.

But the actual ballots won’t be cast for another couple of months so there’s lots of time to rail about those issues. Besides, what can I say today that I haven’t already said in recent weeks? I agree, nothing. So I won’t.

I do watch the news on television and the pictures we’re getting from California, especially Los Angeles, of those huge forest fires makes me happy I’m here and not there. I do vividly remember one forest fire we had in Maine of similar proportions. It was in 1947 when forest fires claimed several lives and destroyed much property in Maine.

Bar Harbor was among the hardest hit, but other parts of the state were also hard hit. My dad’s company had a fleet of trucks and many were volunteered into service to take supplies, equipment, and fire fighters to many of the first in southern and central Maine and to help evacuate residents there. I was too young to be part of the effort but my dad did allow me to ride with him once in one of the trucks.

Seeing huge areas of trees burning beyond control were sights I’ll never forget. We did round one corner to see a small house or cabin fully involved in flames. Dad thought it was getting just a little too dangerous for a sub-teen who just knew he could get out there and join the fight. That was my last trip into the burning woods.

But it does give me cause for sympathy whenever I see TV pictures or read about the huge fires elsewhere.

On Gator Wife’s and my first road trip out west to visit national parks, we arrived at Yellowstone not long after fires had ravaged a part of that wonderful park. The evidence of the destruction was still there and we stopped for a picture taking opportunity. Burned and fallen trees and brush all around us was a staggering reminder of the force and fury of Nature.

While we were standing there amazed at all the destruction around us, another car with tourists stopped. A person in the car shouted out at us, “What is it? Wildlife?” We’ve never forgotten that. Here we were standing in the middle of the worst destruction we had ever seen and all another tourist could look for was a buffalo.

I don’t have a lot here this Tuesday, and the outlook for the week isn’t too great, either. So, I’ll probably be just plodding along.


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