Ash Falling From The Sky

I have lived in Colorado my entire life, born and raised as they like to say. My dad always used to say he chose Colorado to be our home because he liked that we have all four seasons here. He was right, we have summers that can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and winters that can get below freezing, fall always has brown and orange leaves and spring often brings rain showers and tornado warnings.

Growing up here, I didn’t realize that not every state experienced clearly different seasons throughout the year. A short visit to Georgia when I was sixteen and a vacation to California when I was seventeen showed me that wasn’t the case and I grew a stronger appreciation for my home state. Though with all of our seasonal changes also comes some natural destruction.

We are home to the Rocky Mountains, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges full of forests, lakes, and The Colorado River. Anywhere that holds so much beauty also endures pains like uncontrollable wildfires, and of course, 2020 would be the year I experienced the worst forest fires in my lifetime.

The past few months the air has been filled with smoke, but you could only see it from a highway or outside of the city. The fires have been lighting up the sun so bright it looks like a highlighter spilled all over the sun. Seriously, it has looked like the sun itself is on fire only made hazy by the clouds of smoke signaling the burning forests.

We have been dealing with this for a month or so now, maybe more, but it wasn’t until two days ago when the sky began to illuminate red as if the fire was just above the clouds that I realized how tremendously destructive mother nature can be. The entire world was tinted orange all day yesterday, and ash was falling from the sky as if we were in Pompeii.

I tried to record videos and take pictures to capture this phenomenon, but I fear they didn’t grab the essence of how strange it was yesterday. Ash falling looked like snow in September and it stayed so dark all day because the sun was illuminated like a highlighter on fire. Everyone’s cars were covered in burnt pine needles and flakes of ash that seemed to cover the world in grey. By the end of the day, my porch too was covered in roasted pine needles and ash that look like coal dust.

In true Colorado fashion, the temperature over the weekend and on Monday was reaching close to 100 degrees. It is currently Tuesday morning and it is 34 degrees with a high of 35 and chances of snow either today or tomorrow. So, with that, I am assuming Colorado has finished with summer and officially entered sweater weather.

It is almost as if mother nature has decided enough has burned and it is time for the calm now, time to let the ash settle and wash away our pain. I really believe in the idea that nature cycles through birth death and rebirth, in every aspect of life. The trees go through that cycle every year with losing their leaves and growing again in the spring only to repeat the cycle again in the fall. If you really scrutinize life, everything can fall into a category of going through birth or death or rebirth.

Humans go through many cycles like this, we are born and raised and then must shed our childhoods and be “reborn” as adults. Even as adults we go through many phases of finding ourselves and letting our old selves die, and I believe this is all a part of nature. When there are wildfires rip across the state and destroy just about anything in the way, I can only hope it is making room for more and better. When the rains come washing in and slowing the fires spread, they are allowing the earth to rest and regain its beauty. Allowing the Earth to flourish and sprout up in ways no one could have imagined.

This pull between birth and death, or destruction and growth show me the duality of our reality. For there can be no destruction if there was nothing beautiful there in the first place, and there can be nothing new and beautiful if there is no destruction of the old. This does not mean that the destruction does not cause pain, it just means that we can know there will always be more after the pain.

With that, I want to wish all the firefighters and other volunteers fighting these fires on the front lines the best of luck. If it weren’t for them, my state would be ravaged. Sorry is not a strong enough word for everyone who has lost something in these fires, but I am sending all the good vibes I have. 

Copyright © 2020 Serra Isabella. All rights reserved.