It has been the strangest month, and I blame the election for stealing half of it. While on the phone last week with my sister, she said something about “Thanksgiving” and “next week,” a combination of words that jolted me out of whatever timeframe I thought I was in. I didn’t realize we’d already arrived at Thanksgiving, a sign that 2016 was heading rapidly towards its finish line.
If you don’t live in my part of the country, or even in this specific region, then you probably didn’t realize that east Tennessee (and North Georgia) is in the midst of a terrible drought. We’ve gone weeks without rain, and that gave a few people the idea to start wildfires. For weeks we’ve been under a cloud of smoke, and just when it looked to be improving, another fire started just ten miles down the road, close to the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A week ago we had a brief drizzle, but it wasn’t enough to douse the fires.
Over the weekend we had another rain, but it too wasn’t enough. Driving home from the orthodontist yesterday, the smoke from Walland was still wafting. The fire is painfully close to an elementary school, many homes, a historic Bed and Breakfast, and the place where we board Major. There are many people and animals in harm’s way.
Then, yesterday afternoon we got word that a school bus accident in Chattanooga resulted in the death of five young elementary students, potentially six, with many more injured and in the hospital. How does that happen the week of Thanksgiving? How does that happen at all?
The bright spot of this month so far has been getting together with some of our dearest friends (our Fred and Ethel Mertz) and photographing a beautiful, intimate wedding.
It’s a reminder that there is still love in the world. There is still happiness and friendship.
And somewhere, I have to believe, there is hope.
In your prayers around the dinner table on Thursday, please remember Chattanooga, the Tennessee Valley, and our country.