Oregon. On fire.

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Eagle Creek. Horse Prairie. Jones. The burning wilderness, the creatures and humans devastated by these fires. All of these have shaped and nurtured me since childhood. Oregon, my heart hurts. I love you.

Thank you to Hunter for sending this poem and the incomparable Mary Oliver for helping me find words for this insanity.