Stoic ramblings

Hi gals, guys, and entities of all vibrations. It’s Tuesday. I totally missed blogging yesterday. What can I say, it was a rough day. I’ve been hitting these phases in the evenings where I completely crash, and I mean completely. Last night after dinner I passed out on the couch and woke up with just enough time to do my breathing exercises, get a shower, and get in bed only an hour late.

Work has been busy, which is kind of the new norm. I am trying to employ my stoic training in this (and all things), because I know that my menial struggles are laughable in comparison with the true horrors that life can crush someone with. In all things I strive to be grateful for the experiences, and attempt to learn from them.

Speaking of the horrors of life, there are now fourteen confirmed dead in the Gatlinburg wild-fire. I’m sure some of those people had no idea that the fire was coming until it was too late. The winds drove the fire much faster and farther than the authorities anticipated. One minute you are living your life, secure in the supposed knowledge that you are safe, and the next moment you are experiencing a horrific death in the flames.

It may seem at times that you are further from death than other people. We look upon the old or the sick and feel sorry for them, but we are all just a breath away from facing the Grim Reaper. We are just one road-raging asshole or one tire blowout on any given day away from our end.

Life is short and hard, and the potential for suffering is so great. In that knowledge we should all desire to make life better for each other. Enjoy every minute of it, and never be afraid of its end. That will happen whether we fear it or not, so don’t.

Gatlinburg Destroyed

Last night, fueled by strong winds and bone dry foliage, a firestorm all but destroyed our neighboring city of Gatlinburg. The destruction is off the charts. There have been three fatalities (so far), and hundreds of buildings and houses burned to the ground. I’m not going to bother linking to the news articles, since it has been on the national news.

Denice and I have been watching the news since I got home. There are some heart wrenching stories coming out of the fire zone. One fellow’s story in particular was very sad. The man’s wife and two daughters were trapped by the fire at their home while he was away. He was unable to get to them during the night, but got through today only to find them missing. He has been frantically searching the shelters, but they are nowhere to be found. Very, very sad.

There was also an electric lineman who was killed by a falling tree while trying to restore power. He left behind a wife and young children.

I’m sure the scope of the tragedy will only grow as the fires and smoke subside. Who knows how many people, pets, homes, businesses, and thousands of acres of pristine wilderness have been destroyed. Time will tell.

I think a good lesson to learn from all of this is if you are going to build a house in or near the woods, don’t build it out of wood. Seriously, why do we still build structures out of flammable materials?

Tennessee Burning

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I took this photo on my way home from work. There are several forest fires burning around my home. This one is in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. These fires have been burning for several days, and at times the smoke is pretty thick. At the moment there is no end in sight for the fires, not until we get some rain. The best us puny humans can do is struggle to keep the fiery wrath of nature somewhat contained until the water falls.