Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer of Smoke & a Prayer for the Planet

 One of the reasons Santa Fe, NM is a great place to live is because summers are so beautiful. A lot of people think that Santa Fe is in a hot desert, like Arizona. But it's high desert, surrounded by gorgeous mountains - the Jemez to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. We have clearly distinguishable seasons, including winters with snow. Not tons of snow, but some snow.
 
Summers are spectacular. We boast, normally, over 300 days of sunshine a year. Blue, blue skies. Temperatures in the mid-80's. I'm originally a New England girl, and I describe summers here to my family back east this way: "Imagine that perfect New England summer day. Now, imagine having that day, every day, all summer long."

The Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos, NM

This summer is different. Like many parts of the country, we've been hotter than normal. But more than that, we've been smoky. First it was smoke from the huge wildfire in Arizona - we are talking about a fire that was raging a full day's drive away from here - yet thick smoke filled the air here in Santa Fe for over a week.

Then there was a fire in the Sangres to the east. We saw smoke from our house, and then one afternoon we saw actual flames shooting up. That fire was in a canyon, so for the flames to shoot so high that we could see them here, 30 or more miles away, above the treeline - well, I can't even imagine flames like that.

No sooner was that fire under control than the huge Las Conchas fire took over. This one is in the Jemez mountains to the west. They turned the fire away from Los Alamos (where the nuclear research lab is) and now it rages across sacred land of the Santa Clara Pueblo and has threatened Bandolier National Park, where there are pueblo ruins and petroglyphs. The smoke has hovered over Santa Fe, off and on, depending  on the direction of the wind each day.

They seem to be getting the fire under control now, and there is promise of a monsoonal system bringing rain from Arizona this weekend. Let's hope and pray.

Speaking of Arizona, that's where we lived before we moved here. They had a dust storm blow over the entire cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale this week - 50 miles wide and a mile high. Can you imagine this? A tsunami of dust rolling over cities.

No matter where you are, there is probably something - excessive heat, fire, dust storm, tornado, flood, oil spill. I can't help but feel that Mother Nature is very angry with us, and hurt by our callous treatment of her planet. I imagine that when her heart breaks, it explodes and becomes fire, that her sobs become the wind that swirls into a tornado or a duststorm or that fans the fire's flame, and that her tears swell the rivers and cause them to overflow their banks.

At the yoga studio where I work, we have taken to chanting this chant daily:

Lokah Somastah Sukino Bhavantu
(Low-ka Sam-as-ta Soo-keeno Bav-an-too)

The essence of its meaning is: "May all beings in all realms experience joy." The chant is intended to send love and protection to the plants and the animals and the earth, and yes, to us humans too. I hope you'll chant it with me.

9 comments:

  1. A very beautiful blog posting! I hope there will be listeners.

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  2. That is a nice chant. I shall join in.

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  3. Thank you Linda. You too RV.

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  4. Beautiful chant!

    Santa Fe is wonderful. If I didn't love living in Colorado so much, I would consider moving there!

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  5. "I can't help but feel that Mother Nature is very angry with us, and hurt by our callous treatment of her planet. I imagine that when her heart breaks, it explodes and becomes fire, that her sobs become the wind that swirls into a tornado or a duststorm or that fans the fire's flame, and that her tears swell the rivers and cause them to overflow their banks."

    This is just wonderful - loved it!!

    And thanks for your comment on my blog as well. I appreciate it!

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  6. Thanks Heidi and Alienbody. I'm hoping that if we could challenge our collective positive energy - all these little voices chanting, Mother Nature would know we still love her.

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  7. I agree that it feels as though we are being punished for our ill-use of this planet we are privileged to call home.

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  8. Chanting away here. Awesome blog, Melissa.
    Karen

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  9. Thanks Karen and Jabblog. I hope we can find our way to doing things better for our beautiful home.

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