This was not a good week for a teen who made a bad choice throwing firecrackers into a tinder box forest near Portland, Oregon. A large portion of forest is now on fire and not under control. As you read this, people with asthma are suffering. Animals are perishing. One home has burned and people have been evacuated. We lost the sun over here nearly 200 miles away. It is affecting tens of thousands of lives across Oregon into eastern Washington and beyond. One bad decision. Go here for news on it: Oregon Live
Who hasn't made a bad decision before? Rhetorical question, really.
On my walks in the smoky haze this week, I thought of Captain Joseph Hazelwood. Remember him? The guy who was drunk at the helm while trying to navigate the Exxon Valdez through the straits in Alaska and ended spilling a shit-ton of oil in the sound? Yeah, that guy. That one bad choice changed the lives of thousands of Alaskans, killed a lot of wildlife, changed the land, and left a huge mess for residents to clean up. People whose lives depended on fishing in the area were bankrupted. Who knows how many divorces, suicides, and mental health issues were created from that one bad decision. I lived there. I witnessed much of it firsthand.
I cannot begin to imagine the longstanding repercussions of this disaster. I don't think anyone will know the depth of it for quite awhile. We don't know how long it will be before we see the blue skies or breath fresh air. We don't know what that area of the gorge is going to look like when the smoke clears. We don't know how many people will be displaced because of it. We don't know a lot of things.
What I do know is that a lot of people are perplexed by the one bad decision of this young person whose action has caused a lot of grief. That's a big sack of rocks he'll be carrying for a long time. I think about how that teen must be thinking "if only I had not thrown that firecracker ..." I wonder if he would take back his action? If only.
Have you ever burned down a forest, or spilled a million gallons of oil in the most pristine places? Have you ever made a super bad decision that felt like you had burned down a forest?love, susan