Sometimes the horror is unimaginable and you are left feeling helpless though your soul cries with empathy.
Two stories have come out of the USA this year that continue to reverberate with me. One you may have heard of: 19 firefighters tragically died in a firestorm in June. The other, just days ago, apparently even the national news in America is not reporting yet the death toll stands in the thousands.
I am married to a man with a strong sense of the practical, of self-reliance and of commonsense. With these attributes comes a resistance, which borders on contempt, for red-tape and authority. I live in a community where this is the norm. These are ordinary blokes but when the need arises they are extraordinary volunteer firefighters.
With news of the dead American fire-fighters Brian’s emotions have ranged from anger (“if they had the resources to get 19 men in then they should have had the resources to get 19 men out”) to acceptance (“the conditions at a fire can change so suddenly”) to re-assurance (“don’t worry, we are volunteers, we don’t have to go in”).
I can understand his anger and his acceptance. His re-assurance is a little more hollow. I know these Coolatai men, if lives were on the line, would go into the depths of a firestorm. So I mourn for those 19 lives and for their family and friends.
RIP Granite Mountains Hotshot Crew, you are not forgotten.
It killed thousands.
It is breaking families and businesses.
It is scarring hearts for all time.
If you, like millions of their countrymen, have not heard then please go to this blog to understand. A severe blizzard raged through South Dakota this week killing thousands of cattle. I have seen photos that I do not want to share, the hurt is too much. I can only imagine coming over a hill and seeing those sights. I am in tears as I think of it. Tied to the land as we are, it is so much more than just a business. We entwine our lives with those of the animals we care for. To lose one is horrid. To lose so many breaks the heart.
If all we can do is send them our thoughts and prayers, then let us do that.
But for fate and the whims of Mother Nature, whether it be fire or ice, we would be in their shoes.