Faith · Perspective

Windblown and On Fire

Windblown. Physically and emotionally.

This was a rough weekend around here. Sustained winds around 40mph for going on four days with stronger gusts. Prairie fires. Branches down. March comes in like a lion, right?

The wind has this claustrophobic affect on me. It makes me tense and jittery, which is overwhelming. Although the sun is shining and the temperatures are mid-70’s, I don’t want to be outside. The dust is roiling down the road. The scent of smoke tinges the brown air.

 

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Dirt blowing down the road at me. Sky is brown. The truck is stopped.

I’m feeling beat up. I believe many around here reciprocate that sensation.

Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are on fire. I don’t mean the nice kind with beer and marshmallows and chocolate and fire pits. I mean literally, on fire. Burning down houses. Killing animals and tragically, in the Texas panhandle, people too.

Interstate 70 Closed for Fire – Town of Wilson Evacuated

Prairie fires have been occurring for thousands of years. They are nature’s way of controlling invasive species, refreshing and renewing the soil with nutrients, and just plain doing “clean-up.” Usually, to prevent wildfires and promote growth of grass, burning is done on a permit basis depending on the weather and moisture levels.

This winter and spring, the clouds didn’t drop much moisture. The weather warmed up quickly. Too quick. The weather pattern set up for strong winds. Kansas is usually windswept… but as I told a customer today in the office, this is abnormally windy. Perfect conditions for prairie fires.

Fires around Hutchinson, KS – National Guard uses Black Hawk Helicopters to Drop Water

 

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Cred to the South Hutchinson Police Dept on Facebook for this image.

 

90% of the firefighters in Kansas are volunteers. The men and women who fight the flames have day jobs or night jobs or both. They go to trainings and “Rural Fire District” meetings in the evening once or twice a month. They do not get paid for their time or effort. It can be extremely draining, especially when you are fighting for your neighbor’s livelihood or life.

The Volunteer Firefighters of Kansas

To support these volunteers as they fight fires in and around their communities, there are yet more volunteers providing food, water, blankets, shelter, and other resources when the needs arise. Currently, there are people flooding in from rural volunteer districts to help with the large fires across the state.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that us Midwesterners are a friendly sort. We’ll talk to you even if we don’t know you. Honestly, we expect you to talk back. We wave when we meet people on the road even if we don’t know you. We would like it if you’d wave back – or at least give the head nod acknowledging the wave. This is exactly the type of spirit you find in our rural fire districts and the volunteers that support them.

Although these fires are devastating, I’ve always been one to search for the bright side. The rays of light in this are the rallying cries of people coming together to support each other – to fight the flames together – to say we’re here for you. Don’t give up.

 

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Cred to Cirrus Weather on Facebook for this picture and post

 

If you are the praying sort (I am), please pray for all those involved in the fires. Pray for rain and a calm day. And as in all things, give thanks for how we grow and connect in these situations.

 

Family · Love

Blowing in the Wind (aka Parenting)

Parenting is like the wind. We have days of solid calm. There are days of sweet, springy air that seems to breathe soft and slow. Moments occur where it whips into a frenzy, then settles back down. Sometimes it blows hard, fast, and full of dirt.

Lately, the wind has been blowing hard and full of dirt; as in knock my child down hard. My yard is littered with tree branches. My favorite hammock is shredded. The birds struggle to fly against the wind. The weather is a very literal analogy and reflection to parenting as of late. Nothing seems to be calm. My children are asserting themselves and tasting tiny drops of independence. We are working to guide them with this new found responsibility. It has been a bumpy road. A bumpy road that almost led to a glass door being opened and blown by the strong winds and broken today after our son was told NOT to open the door multiple times.

What a delicate balance it is.

The truth is that some parts of parenting are not enjoyable. The quote “this hurts me more than it hurts you” is applicable no matter what type of parenting plan you are striving to follow. My son thought his world was ending when he was not allowed to play with his grandpa after the door incident. We listened to 30+ minutes of sobbing from his room. He was safe and physically not hurt, but his heart was breaking. He emerged still sad but coherently told us what the bad choice was and what the better choice would have been. Did I want to go comfort him? Absolutely, but sometimes bad choices mean losing out on something fun.

There are frenzied whirlwinds where we ask “do fits get us what we want?” (NO, never) There are fleeting days of solid calm. Snack goes smoothly. Eyes close easily for naps – PTL if they happen at the same time! They work out arguments without needing a mediator (ages ~2 and ~4).

Mostly there is some sort of wind. It keeps us on our toes and brings in fresh, new experiences. What is life without the spice of variety?

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Blow beautiful child blow.

The winds push and swirl.
While you dance carelessly and twirl.

Blow innocent child blow.

The gentle wind speaks soft.
Your fancies soar like clouds aloft.

Blow wise child blow.

The harsh winds bluster.
Your innocent world they fluster.

Blow strong child blow.