There are no guarantees in this life, and we each dodge as many bullets as we can. But when those who help us dodge our own bullets are killed - well, that’s tough to reconcile.
2013 has been a year of dodging bullets for me so far. Early in the year I was dodging the breast cancer bullet, made easier for me by a very early diagnosis and a very thorough and skilled physician. Just before the summer solstice, my family, my neighborhood, and our community dodged another bullet when favorable weather and very capable firefighters were able to beat back a fire that could have been devastating.
It wasn’t until last night that any of us realized - to some degree - what that devastation might potentially entail. The Yarnell Hill Fire, 0% contained at this posting, is reminding us all of the destructive power of flames. Hundreds of homes have already been lost in Yarnell, a small hamlet nestled in granite boulders and manzanita-oak chaparral. The City of Prescott has lost nineteen hot shots, elite firefighters who literally create the line containing the fire by hand.
We don’t yet know the names of these courageous people, but the reverberations in our community will be intense and painful. The words that express how we feel about this will be insufferably inadequate. There are no guarantees in this life, to be sure. So hold your babies a little closer, love a little more deeply, and practice gratitude a little more consciously. Acknowledge those who allow us to live our lives in ease because we carry with us the knowledge that they will do all they can to protect us.