Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fires and other natural disasters

Today we walked in Frijoles Canyon at Bandelier National Monument.  This is our "local" park, and we have spent many hours there every summer for more than 25 years.  We have done school in the picnic area, played in the stream, hiked, and camped. It is a beautiful place that is dear to our hearts.  My last trip there was a hike with a friend last summer, prior to the Las Conchas Fire.  Fires and other natural disasters change things.  Not only did they back-burn in the canyon, but the massive floods and run-off following the fire have changed the place forever.  The lower part of the canyon is much the same-- the ruins trail remains unchanged, though there is no bridge to the picnic area, and the old visitor's center is closed for renovation.  There are barriers and sand-bags all around that area.  It is once you pass the ruins that the trail up to the Ceremonial Cave is almost unrecognizable. The stream has completely changed course, all the foot-bridges were washed away, along with most of the picnic area. While it is still a thing of beauty, it will never be the same old canyon we knew.

Yes, fires and natural disasters change the course of things. Whether it is flooding or cancer, earthquakes or disease, normal shifts around us in this fallen world. We loose our footing at times, and our perspective and sense of orientation at others. But the amazing thing is, the beauty still remains.  We grieve the losses, and struggle with the recovery, but the One who allowed the trial in the first place redeems even the disasters in our world and in our lives. The old normal is gone, but a new normal will eventually take its place, because God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and continues caring for us, and for our world. His grace amazingly brings spring after blizzard, and new growth after fire, and refocus and healing after cancer.

He brings beauty from ashes. May He give us a glimpse of that beauty even today, Gentle Reader.

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