Religions are prone to all sorts of ridiculous errors, but one of the worst is believing that reality can be tamed. Meaning, eliminating uncertainty, chance, randomness, unpredictability.
It's a psychological truism that we humans are uncomfortable with uncertainty. So we make up stories to fill the gap between what is known and what we have questions about where answers are lacking.
How did existence come to be? Nobody knows. Science is content with leaving this question as a mystery. Religions, though, make up a tale about how God created the cosmos -- ignoring the obvious problem of how God came to be.
(If it is assumed that God always has existed, then it also can be assumed that the cosmos always has existed.)
Here in Oregon, and also in our neighboring states of Washington and California, massive wildfires are burning. Today I saw a tweet by a reporter that said, "Since 1900, Oregon has never had more than 2 mega fires (100K acres or more) in a single year, said Jim Gersbach from @ORDeptForestry. Now depending on how you count them we have 3 or 4 all burning at once."
Earlier in the summer it seemed that Oregon would have a mild wildfire season. There were some fires, but they weren't creating big problems.
Then an unexpected combination of circumstances combined to create a Perfect Storm for wildfires.
Oregon has been in a long-standing drought. Very little rain has fallen for many months. And a rare September snow storm in the Rockies was followed by high pressure in that region that created strong east winds in the Pacific Northwest.
The National Weather Service realized the danger. They designated much of Oregon as being at high risk for wildfires. That turned out to be an accurate prediction. Yesterday I took this photo at 9 am while standing in our almost pitch black driveway.
Smoke from what now is called the Santiam Fire was so thick, blown by the east winds in the direction of Salem, where I live, that the sun was completely obscured. All that could be seen in the sky was an eerie red glow. Later in the day it was still strangely dark, which made me think darkness at noon.
Thousands of people living in the Santiam Canyon east of Salem had to evacuate in the early morning hours on Tuesday. A small fire in the mountains that seemed to be posing little danger grew astoundingly rapidly, pushed by the strong east winds. This map shows the current size of the fire from satellite imagery.
(Yellow is satellite fire detections 24-48 hours ago. Orange is 12-24 hours. Red is 0-12 hours. So the red dots show where a fire has moved most recently. Note: on a slow Internet connection like what I have, the dots take a while to load.)
So far two people are known to have died in the Santiam Fire, a grandmother and her grandchild, who were in a car trying to escape the flames. Many homes and businesses have been destroyed. And this fire is just one of many ravaging Oregon.
Bad things happen.
This isn't news to anybody. It's the way the world is. If bad things could be predicted with certainty, we could stop them from happening. But usually we can't do that. Sure, meteorologists knew that the strong east winds could fan dangerous wildfires.
Yet whether this actually would come to pass wasn't known until the winds arrived. And yes, now Oregon is suffering through the worst wildfires in the state's history.
My Tai Chi instructor and his wife have had to evacuate their home. They live near the road that links Silverton and Molalla in the map I shared above. They got out safely, along with their dogs, horses, and goats. That's good news, though better news would be if their house ends up being untouched by fire.
I can hope for that. Yet I can't know that. Life is uncertain. That's for sure. Which is why I started to work on an evacuation checklist yesterday, just in case.
If global temperature reaches 60 degree Celsius , it may wipe out 95% of mankind, all the electrical equipment , weapons , atomic bombs and missiles will self destruct at that temperature causing destruction at large scale. People in developed world can be wiped out by that temperature as their bodies will not be able to adapt. This is happening as developed world is not following the commandment " You shall not lie " . The half truth - half lie technology of developed world has brought mankind on verge of destruction.
Posted by: Vinny | September 10, 2020 at 04:02 AM
Ohh dear Brian!!
That’s really heavy for you people there also in Oregon.
I saw it on tv in the Netherlands..
I hope and pray for you that you will be safe..
Wishing you and all the people there strength and safety!!
Posted by: [email protected] | September 10, 2020 at 01:08 PM
Gosh, the photo is somewhat eerie. Hope the fire steers away from your beautiful property. Be safe!
Posted by: Sonia | September 10, 2020 at 07:36 PM
Our circumstances can completely change in an instant. So temporary and fragile is life. 🌸
Posted by: S | September 10, 2020 at 07:43 PM
Our lovely world which we enjoy has been on fire a long time. We saw a little crimson on the horizon a few years back but told ourselves it's just temporary, somewhere else, affecting other people, not us, far, far away. They will take care of it.
Then the smoke began. Well, it wasn't much, we could still spot the blue sky most of the time.
Now the sky is completely orange. And the horizon is blood red.
But it's still so far away, right.
Tomorrow we will be able to see flames from here.
The world was always burning. Our world has always been burning. The world was always engulfed. We didn't see it in our little neighborhood, our temporary Hamlet.
Really, how silly we have been.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | September 12, 2020 at 06:49 AM
This was one of the first fires that started in Cali.
My camera is not a good one, but this happened after some fight where a guy started the fire out of anger.
And days after they put this one out, as I hear it someone poped a party-popper near the same hills which went so far it hit some brush and erupted the current 29,000+ acre Bobcat fire.
People a getting negligent due to the stress of covid-19. They need to keep the faith.
Posted by: Karim W. Rahmaan | September 12, 2020 at 12:37 PM
Did not realize you live in California. Tried to open the link you sent from my phone but I’m going to have to try it from my computer because I haven’t installed One Drive on my phone.
Anyway, hope you are keeping safe. :)
Posted by: Sonia | September 12, 2020 at 04:04 PM
Can't think of anything worse than wildfires. Good that you are well organised and have your evacuation checklist ready. Hope your home survives. Thinking of you and your family wishing and hoping everything will work out okay.
Posted by: Jen | September 13, 2020 at 04:10 PM