More than 100 years cherishing the memories of generations who were enchanted with this privileged place in the middle of the pine forests, under blue skies, beside a generous river. Unforgettable summers listening to and watching insects, eagles, deer and birds come and go, while we contemplate a landscape that apparently never changes beyond the changes of season…
This cabin was built by the grandparents when they were young. The beds were not in the rooms but outside, so they could appreciate the view during the day and the stars at night. There was no electricity then, and the Milky Way showed itself in all its splendor. Years passed and daughters were born and more years passed and many sons and daughters were born, and they in turn brought new generations into the world and to the cabin. And with the passing of time electricity came and water too. No more coming and going with buckets from the river upstream. The wood stove was replaced by an electric one, but the main fireplace was never modified or replaced. Inside, in the warmth of the fire, adolescents and adults made love and children played cards for years and years.
All this changed in an instant. In less than an hour, a hundred years were completely destroyed and with them all that they had meant. The forest fire left nothing standing but the stone chimney that Grandma had built with the stones from the river. A tremendous fire, of a magnitude and strength never before seen in these parts, devoured the cabin in a few minutes. Something totally unsuspected, impossible to understand or even remotely explain, manifested itself with all the destructive force that climate change brought with it.
And our amazement at this new reality did not even give us time to fully understand that it was not only a hundred years that disappeared in the ashes and calcined soil. Not just the memories of generations that we didn’t even have time to mourn or caress, because the tragedy wasn’t remotely personal. It was a tragedy for all of us – a tragedy corresponding to a new reality, where cruelty to other human beings and cruelty to the environment has spread to every corner of the earth, including this lost point in an Oregon forest.
The disastrous consequences of the depredation of the environment for economic reasons have left us speechless and deprived of something very precious, leaving a loss that there is no way to repair. This is much bigger than an accident. It is a real tragedy that we are experiencing. This cabin was built in a moist forest where there was never a fire until a few years ago, when the climate began to change and the droughts came. With the droughts came the winds, the heat, and the efforts of a planet to find an ecological balance that is becoming more and more elusive and unpredictable.
All the houses, huts, stables and buildings in more than thirty surrounding villages were totally or almost totally consumed by this fire. It is very difficult to explain the inexplicable so I am not even going to try. But it is clear that all of this could have been avoided if the global outcry over climate change and global warming had been taken seriously. I only hope that those who deny all these truths will understand at some point in their lives that on this planet, human life and its environment are more sacred than all the money accumulated by those few who hold power. I hope they will grasp that our planet and our humanity are fragile, that we and our environment need to be protected, because we are a single, completely interdependent structure.
Hopefully the experience of this loss will strengthen our resolution to wake up to this new, undeniable reality. I hope that it will be understood that we are one human species, a “we” despite all our apparent differences. And even though we all live in different places, this “we” also has only one environment. This time, the fire did not respect our supposed green paradise, however moist, beautiful and remote it was…
These images / drawings are from a collection called “Weekly Reflection”. Most of the time the text is related to the photo or the drawing and is a “poetic” interpretation of the image. All the images and drawings are made by Rafael Edwards, all the texts are created by Fernando Aránguiz and all the English translations by Trudi Richards.
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