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Fire on the Mountain - 06/12/2020

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

In Tucson we are facing yet another catastrophe as this terrible year continues. It began with unseasonably early thunderstorms a week ago, when a lightning strike ignited dry timber in the Catalina Mountains. Less than 24 hours later, fire raged up the canyons on the western side of Mount Lemmon, out of control. The smoke seemed to pour out of the mountain like a volcano, and the air smelled like a thousand campfires. Although I am not in any danger, I live about ten miles away from where the fires started, as the crow flies, and can see them very well from where I live. It's a little awe-inspiring and beautiful, and scary at the same time. Authorities began evacuating parts of the Catalina Foothills today, as the fires edged dangerously close to homes in that beautiful and expensive neighborhood. Tonight Clara and I drove to the dog park in Oro Valley, which is a prime viewing spot for the fires.

We could see the fires glowing down the mountainside like a scene out of Mordor. I've never been so close to a forest fire. But down in the valley, life goes on. Tonight, as we drove into the park, I saw that the parking lot was packed. There was a soccer game going on! People were gathered in a large group, watching a sporting event. Before COVID, this would has been a normal occurrence; tonight, it looked like a miracle. Or foolhardy - Arizona is experiencing a rapid rise in COVID cases over the last two weeks, and most of the people in the crowd (and none on the field) were not wearing masks. Are we all just experiencing pandemic fatigue and giving up? Or are we fooling ourselves into thinking everything is back to "normal?" I don't know the answer, but I admit it was thrilling to see kids in uniform on the ballfield.

I led my ailing pug into the dog park where she was unable to walk more than about 50 feet. She laid down on the cool grass, so I sat down with her. Several teenaged girls were in the park with a four-month old heeler puppy, and they came over to pet Clara. They told me about their 13-year-old pug and how he was not doing well either. They loved on Clara and told me how cute she was. I told them about her illness, and I teared up as I confessed I just didn't know how long to let her go on. One of the girls told me they had waited until their dog was no longer able to walk. Their kindness and sympathy made me feel better, even though my heart aches as I watch Clara failing before my eyes. I want her to pass on her own, and I don't want to rush her. But I also hate to see her suffer.

I brought my beloved girl out to the car, and as we started to drive away, I stopped to look at the fire one more time. The mountain glowed bright in the background, and in front of us, people laid on blankets in the grass and watched kids playing soccer. I rubbed Clara's head and said a prayer that I will know what to do when the time is right, and that this terrible year will not continue to bring disaster after disaster. And the fires continue to burn.

#BighornFire #OroValleyRegionalPark #Soccer #Pugs #Will2020EverEnd?

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