This. The Columbia Gorge. This is where we play…on bikes, on foot with packs and tents, with cameras we see things that make the place we call home so special. This is where people come from all ends of the world to learn about us, to enjoy the majesty of this incredible state. This is what we seek when we need to breathe and celebrate and triumph and feel things that we can’t feel in the city, inside four walls, anywhere else. It is what unsticks us when we are stuck, it’s where our hearts fill with joy, where we explore, find solace, have rest and make memories. This is where we meet the trees and the animals, oh the trees and the animals. The poor dear trees and animals. It has never been ours but it has been theirs and they have shared it with us and it is because of them that our tears fall this week.
Fire, that most feared element, has done the only thing that fire knows to do and it has burned fast and furious. It can warm us when we need warming, provide light for us to see and even tame crops and forests that need taming. But when mismanaged by us and left to it’s own accord it knows no boundaries and it can kill and maim and cause suffering unimaginable. This is what has become of our sacred playground.
Although the tallied death count remains at zero (for now) the number of souls that have died already is countless. The poor dear trees and animals. Fire can’t live forever and soon mother nature will bring to the rescue her water to stifle it’s progress but nonetheless this place of peace is forever altered. It will be our time then to nurture the earth and air that this space may again flourish. Nature will do as it will but we, man, need recognize our influence. As we have influenced it’s demise we must temper and carefully scrutinize our actions as we use our powers to aid and influence the rebirth of the Columbia Gorge.