This week has seen the worst fires in California in decades, and certainly in my memory. Acrid, choking smoke filled the air; ash and cinders fell like a dry, eerie snow. But it’s our own fault—and it needed to happen.
The whole thing is a tragedy of epic proportions, to be sure. Nobody likes to see such loss of life, destruction of property and—above all—ruination of our beautiful mountains and hillsides. But it proves a few very important things:
First, Mother Nature does what she wants. No matter our technology, our determination or our prayers and entreaties, the earth is a self-regulating system. I didn’t need to be on the fire-lines and see the roaring flames firsthand to understand their power—I got enough of a taste through the non-stop television coverage.
Second, it points out how idiotic we humans are in our dealings with nature. We’ve know for a long time that the bark beetle has chewed through huge swaths of our forests, killing all trees in its path, turning them into match-dry tinder. We didn’t do anything about it. ALL that deadwood should have been removed, or more to the point, burned out when weather was calm and we had the chance. But no—we let either the environmentalist wackos or the exclusive cabin-owning mountain residents dictate the situation. Mother Nature has showed them the utter folly of their decisions in a big way. Burning is natural and MUST occur periodically. Just ask anyone who really understands nature, forestry and ecology. We should listen to them scientifically rather than the others politically.
Thirdly, it amply demonstrates the stupid optimism of mountain residents who prefer to maintain the “rustic” qualities of their tree-surrounded, wooden vacation cabins rather than follow fire prevention best practices, bring buildings up to code, or adequately prepare for such eventualities. In addition, we’ll CONTINUE to let them do so while they force our collective insurance rates ever higher so we can all share in their stupidity.
Finally, it demonstrates the extreme lack of moral direction our society is experiencing when people out on a joyride can so callously start such a conflagration just for the hell of it. Of course, with our horrendously corrupt liberal judicial system and a complete lack of backbone on the part of society, even if the perpetrating arsonists are ever caught, nothing much will likely happen to them. Certainly nothing like the death penalty, which they—in my opinion—so richly deserve.
So then. While I’m sad that everything went up so spectacularly and so many people suffered damage in one form or another—including myself, healthwise, from the fetid air—I think we deserved it and the forest needed it. While we as humans will have to endure the slow re-growth and rebuilding process according to our time-clocks, to nature that process will be but the blink of an eye. Maybe somehow we’ll come to better understand that living in and with nature means we have to let her do what’s right, regardless of what we’d rather see.