June 9, 2011
White Dog, The Other White Dog, Another White Dog and Yet Another White Dog are concerned about their sister, Puff. She has developed a racking cough due to the heavy smoke that hangs in the air over Albuquerque despite our attempts to keep her indoors and away from inhaling it. Steve feels the effects, too, in his itching red eyes and shallower breathing (he is slightly asthmatic). Our skies have an eerie copper orange glow at sunset and during the day the sun filters through a sickly grey atmosphere (where are our cerulean blue Land of Enchantment heavens?). Health officials have issued warnings that the elderly, the young and the sick stay indoors with closed windows; vets caution all to consider their animals and to bring them indoors as well.
These are all the effects of the huge wildfire in Arizona (1/2 a mile from the NM border) which has burned 607 square miles and remains uncontained after 12 days. We are over 200 miles from the flames and know that those closer are truly suffering. More than 200 miles of highway have been closed and transmission lines that power southern New Mexico and Texas are threatened.
The worst is that this fire is not the only one burning in the moisture starved Southwest. Another fire rages in Arizona, one burns in southeastern NM, and five flame in southern Colorado. This is not a promising start to fire season and The White Dog Army worries at the loss of lives, homes, habitats, and splendor that will take generations to regrow.
The big one in Arizona that has reached far enough to personally touch little Puff reportedly was started by a careless campfire. As White Dog lamented during our discussion about this tragedy, "getting angry is too little and too pointless, and grieving for what is being wastefully lost is overwhelming." She knows firsthand that nothing touches the soul more deeply than walking or driving through a forest which has burned down...it is the emptiest, loneliest, most heartbreaking journey on the planet.
Please send prayers and ask the Universe to bless those effected and to provide extra strength to the brave men and women facing down these infernos. And please, the WDA begs you, always be aware and careful when dealing with fire.
Painting, Renewal, is the copyrighted work of Susan Sehi-Smith