Honk honk honk for Fire Fighters

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

where went the deer? ~ d nelson
where went the deer? ~ d nelson

Breathing in Rocky Wildfire particulates
from over 100 square miles blackened,
my lungs burn figuratively & literally,
breathing out carbon dioxide clean of particulates.
Fatigued, but resting calmly
I fall asleep accompanied by
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s voice
who makes it clear that fire danger still looms
in the coming months and years
for this drought-stricken state.

“I think this is a real wake up call,”
Brown says. “California is burning,”
then, emphatically he asks political candidates,
“What the hell are you going to do about it?” (regarding CO2 emissions, climate change…)

burnt ridgetop
burnt ridgetop

Waking up, I keep breathing in
sometimes wheezing-in
calmly to clear the air,
while the smoke affects my thoughts.
Where would I be without fire?
Colder, eating uncooked food!
Forests and grassland ecosystems
depend on fire’s power of rejuvenation.

Human presence & actions challenge
harmoniously living with this vital natural force.

Pylee & Emily's Gratitude
Pylee & Emily’s Gratitude

Waking with gratitude for having survived
the flames, in lungs, body & spirit.
Sending compassion to the living beings
who have lost home, possessions, habitat
or did not survive this fire; including
deer, squirrels, birds, fish, among others.

Thank you firemen
who face dangers of intense flames & smoke
risking all in actions of love and compassion
for the benefit of all in harm’s way.
This morning a mindfulness bell
sounds like honk, honk, honk, honk.

50 Replies to “Honk honk honk for Fire Fighters”

  1. Beautiful words as always, filled with concern and gratitude, warning and understanding. It grieves me to see how my native state, where I was born and grew up, so dry and too frequently aflame. Fire was often a specter in my childhood, as we followed the progress of brush fires on the ridge near our home, packed the car to evacuate but the amazing firefighters managed to stop the flames with firebreaks and backfires. And several other times as I grew older, it happened as well. Btw, I saw yesterday that the Panama Canal has had to turn several large ships away because due to drought the water level is too low to accommodate them. Wow! Thanks for your coverage of this disaster from a mindful point of view!

    1. thank you for offering your Sunny retrospection and insights! yes, fires have always been here, but now there are so many more people and it is so dry. may your day be filled with happy moments 🙂

  2. This is a well-written thoughtful write … I’m so sorry to hear that the problem in California is getting even worse … drought is a terrible thing … and a special thought to those who brave the perils of fire … thanks for sharing the news with us all.

      1. And I’m hoping that you will soon have the much needed rain … it’s been such a very long dry spell.

        thoughts of rain
        seeding the clouds
        for California

  3. so sad… when I heard this on the television news, I thought of people and animals there… wonderful writing dear Smile, I hope and wish not to happen again, but I know not easy to struggle with fire. Thank you, love, nia

      1. I find it confusing when the authorities say that a fire has been contained, it only means (usually) that the fire is not threatening humans and their homes, it does not mean that the fire is even smaller in size, many times, it’s grown in size, animals, birds, fish, trees, etc., still suffer. It’s political double speak, I have wondered if it’s to keep the tourists coming — and also, to keep the wars going, because all the citizens would rise up were they to know that the money needs to go to take care of their own people and environment, and stop all wars.

      2. naturally it seems confusing, my friend.
        but in another time, another place
        the two legged respected and lived in harmony with the other creatures, viewing them as their brothers & sisters.
        any reports of fires or other disasters would include assessment and empathy
        for all. may your day be calm & peaceful 🙂

  4. I was up hiking Shasta and Lassen this week, and the air was very smoky and ashy. I prayed to Mother Earth/Mountains for help with it. I few sprinkles of rain yesterday, but praying for more!

    1. thank you for sharing your joyful time in those beautiful mtn’s & prayers, Julianne!
      yes, so many fires, especially in Humboldt county. may the rains fall 🙂

    1. thanks for the reflection, Tom! it’s dry with fire’s out of control, likely worse than in the past. seems nature will have it’s way and people will change in order to continue. wishing you a pleasant day 🙂

  5. Devastating and yet, rejuvenating in ways beyond human imagining. All the diseased and dying are set free.

    Sad that the living have to suffer too. Hope the drought breaks soon.

  6. Powerful and poignant reflections and photos, David. Sending you love and peaceful thoughts. May healing rains come soon, and may enough people awaken to the need to live in harmony with each other and the earth we all share.

  7. Beautifully expressed mix of emotions. Reminds me of a song we sang in our school musical,
    “What can you say to a hero? To someone who gives so much? What can you say to a hero? To someone who lives lives to touch… We can say thank you, Oh we can say…. thank you, thank you.”

  8. This story has it all, David– feelings swirling, as I give witness to bravery, compassion, gratitude, tragedy, uncertainty, guilt, fear, anger, blame, and desire. It strikes me that the mindful responses we offer are– rightfully and authentically– of countless varieties and persuasions, as they ever are when we confront power that we cannot control, outcomes we may not be able to steer in the direction we desire, and questions about our own relevance and meaning in relationship to the situation. When we confront mystery such as this… we hurt and we love both at once. We fight and we accept. We offer compassion and we suffer fear. What a powerful teacher the fire can be…


    1. thank you for insightfully finding
      what i wrote or intended to convey about our little cunundrum with nature’s changing ways, Micheal! may your inner & outer weather be pleasant this day 🙂

  9. Awesome. That’s what humans do: some give and protect lives, others take them. The awesome part is that we have a choice there. Your blog is so minimal, uncluttered. I love it.

  10. So sorry to hear about the fires. I always feel sad for the little forest creatures. May the skies rain down upon you soon. Here in the Czech Republic, we are experiencing a drought and wicked heat as well. No major fires so far, but the risk is high.

  11. Starkly beautiful images and reflection; thank you.
    We have suffered similarly here in Colorado. In the United States, these raging wildfires are largely a result of a century-old fire suppression policy intended to protect human homes and interests. We should have let those smaller fires burn as they arose and allowed Nature to do her work. Having failed that, we now have huge tinderbox forests ready to ignite (often due again to human causes) and burn uncontrollably. Our species is catastrophically slow to learn that our short-term interests are not the only ones worth considering.

  12. When I look at the parched, burnt landscape, my heart goes out to all the beings suffering from the drought. I continue to pray for a season of healing rain for California so that all life is renewed there.

  13. What a beautiful, thoughtful post this is, thanks so much. How upsetting it must have been to be so close to this fire, and to still be breathing it in. I live close enough that our sky was pink and gray and thick and smoky from it. We are oh so dry here. I appreciate your gratitude, it is a good reminder for me.

  14. Your post makes me think – what will finally get our attention?
    When will we face the fact that the extraordinary is not longer that?
    In our own backyard we see – A forest fire on Northern Vancouver Island, tornadoes moving into southern Ontario, floods of the century occurring every year in prairie cities.
    Thanks always to those who put their lives and wellbeing on the line to save the lives and property of others.
    Accolades and respect even if it is just sticking a finger in the dike.
    But please, let us address the bigger issues while we can.

    1. thanks for your sharing your experiences, francis! may you continue embracing the joy found in each moment
      and have the skill to do,
      along with the rest of humanity
      what needs doing 🙂

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