(Note: Chapters 1 and 2 were written before the mudslide, Chapter 3 after.)

Chapter 1 (After the Fire I)

I drove by the enchanted forest

Seeing new scars and fallen trees from your wind

Entering the sacred grounds

The smell of ash still heavy in the air

Sense memory bringing back the fear of those weeks

Coming together in gratitude to express our thanks,

Our fears,

Our grief

All present to our sacred community

These sacred grounds,

Our sacred work

Your mists shrouded the scarred hills

As though to lead us more gently into the knowledge of them

Throughout the day,

The shroud grew

A mysterious and heavy mystical blanket

To protect us from our worst fears

At night, the mist, thick as smoke,

Was a visible reminder of all that happened here

All that was

And all that could have been

The orange glow of a light through the mist

Eerily reminiscent of fire

A deep breath

It’s not here now

Although I feel it with that intake of breath

Raw in my esophagus

Raw in my soul

Yet I walk side by side with my fellow journeyers

We are here

We are safe

We will heal

This is my prayer of gratitude

Chapter 2 (After the Fire II)

The mist still surrounds the enchanted forest

I take a second look at the trees

Newly fallen

It’s still beautiful

It’s still sacred

It’s still here


Once more I enter the sacred space

I smell the ash

Not so strong now

Not so harsh

My sense memories a bit diminished

I steel myself to gaze towards the hills

As the comforting mist has now lifted

The scarred hillsides starkly visible now

So close

So close

Breathe . . .

We are here

We are safe

We will heal

This is my prayer of gratitude

Chapter 3 – (After the Flood)

Oh my heart

Oh my soul

The news, such news

So many lives lost

So much devastation

Not safe, not yet

Not healed, not yet

This is the refrain I hear throughout the town

And still

These wounded warriors

Come forward

Once again to say

I’m with you, I hear you


Not safe, not yet

Not healed, not yet

Can we be?

They ask

We ask

I ask

We will be

We will be

We will be

This is my new prayer

My new hope

My only path



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