I wrote this yesterday, but was without internet due to moving to our new home….
3 May 2018 Two years since the wildfire
Last night our friend who rents the basement suite of this house accidentally set off the fire alarm while making toast. We have moved into a new home and the fire alarm is very loud and a disembodied voice instructed us there was a fire – there wasn’t. It was just smoke from overcooked bread. We were surprised to say the least as the siren continued for a minute or two. We had just gone to bed. And until I heard the voice saying, “Danger! Fire!” I thought my daughter had inadvertently triggered the door alarm. I did not panic, but as I think back it is interesting to me that the alarm did not trigger any “fight or flight response” especially on the eve of the two year anniversary of the wildfires. But afterward we all laughed about it and went back to bed. I was comforted with knowing if there ever is a fire we will get an instant and noisy warning – no one could sleep through that alarm!
It’s been two years since the wildfire that was nicknamed “the beast” roared into our city and caused the evacuation of approximately 80,000 people. Shortly before that event I had been out picking up household goods. Outside the store there were literally thousands of white feathers in a long row beside the building. White feathers (or feathers in general) are said to be a sign that angels are near. I was amazed at the number of feathers laying on the ground. As I think back on those feathers I cannot help but think angels certainly were nearby when we evacuated the city. There were no direct fatalities as a result of the wildfire. Sadly, two young people were killed in a collision as they were driving to Edmonton, so the wildfire did cause deaths albeit indirectly. It remains a source of wonder that more people were not killed. The wall of smoke on the edge of town was so intense that we literally could not see past the hood of the truck.
I wrote this poem and posted it on the first anniversary of the wildfires. I consider it to be divine intervention and the fine work of first responders that kept nearly everyone safe that day. I am adding my poem, ‘A thousand feathers’, as a tribute to all the angels, ethereal and otherwise, who helped us escape the flames.
A thousand feathers
A thousand feathers lay upon the ground
It may be there were thousands more
I did not stop to count them
But left them to be carried in the breeze
As I hastened on my way
And I wondered as I scurried
It seemed as though heaven’s angels
Had been stripped of their attire
Perhaps exchanged instead for that of steel
Did they fold their wings around us when we had to flee?
That day hell’s inferno came to be
And flames encircled on every side
Licking at our heels as we sought to leave
Did angels see us through the wall of smoke
Where daylight failed and darkness
Tried to steal our hope and faith in all we believed
Yet hell itself cannot succeed
When a thousand feathers lay upon the ground
And angels fly with agile strength
To do battle in our name
May 2, 2017