Last Friday night my dear friend and I found a little campsite just off a forest service road. We setup camp for the night, stoke running high for our river float the next day. We wandered around the beautiful spot – I was amazed at how nice the camp sites were and couldn’t understand why someone would chose to camp at the Oregon State Campground over a site like the one pictured above.
I setup my tent on a bed of pine needles, and while I didn’t sleep great that night ( I have a hard time sleeping when I know I’m fishing the next day ) the spot was beautiful though… stars shining through the smoke over head, and solitude among the grove of ponderosa pine.
The float the next day was awesome. Epic. I won’t ever forget it. Josh and I had already talked about when we would come back again. But in Times Like These, things change quickly. Just two days after we setup camp there, less than a quarter of a mile away a wildfire started – along with many others across Oregon – and I can only imagine these spots look extremely different today.
If it isn’t obvious, I seek solace in nature. It is my rock in uncertain times. And so many spots that I have found peace in – places I have found myself in – have been burned by historic fires over the past few days.
Lives, homes, and special places for others too have been lost. Each morning this week I have woke up, and it is the first thing that has come raging into my mind… much like the strong winds that stoked the flames – is the heaviness of the devastation here in Oregon and all along the West Coast of the US. It has rocked me to the core, and I’ve had problems staying focused and keeping positive.
Tomorrow is September 11. Nineteen years ago my wife and I were on the cusp of saying our vows a mere 11 days later. We had just moved to Bend Oregon that spring, and life was full of promise and excitement. I, like I’m sure many others do, remember the exact place I was when I heard the news coming out of New York.
I recall heading to my job at Mt. Bachelor ( back when they had a corporate office off Century Drive ) after watching the 2nd plane collide with the World Trade Center. The feeling that day is oddly similar to how I feel today after watching the destruction around Oregon from the fires. And I also remember looking out the window of the office while I was swapping out magnetic backup tapes ( remember those?! ) and seeing a doe and a fawn feeding on the grass outside, and feeling a bit of comfort.
Whether it is from an act of war, or a violent tragedy from a force of nature – things never return to being the same, but I guess we all do have a choice of how to adapt, attempt to heal, and head into a new version of what we once knew and loved before.
I’m still using nature to find comfort, but I also find this lyric quite powerful right now. I’m hopeful for the new day, the smoke free skies, and making the choice to stay, not leave it all behind, and learn to live and love again alongside all my fellow Oregonians.
I, I’m a new day risingTimes Like These
I’m a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?
It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
My heart goes out to all impacted by the fires. I’m just crushed thinking of it all still 💔