Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

I keep thinking that things are going to get back to normal and I will be able to resume writing funny kid anecdotes or describing various summer vacations that Winthrop residents have been taking. But I’ve now resigned myself to the fact that this summer is shaping up to be anything but normal, and Friday’s new fire coupled with Saturday’s windstorm only reinforced this for me.

If they weren’t so devastating, the events of the past couple of weeks would be almost farcical. It’s like a Mel Gibson movie, with a shaky plot line held together only with destruction and natural disaster. “Yeah right,” we’re saying to ourselves as we watch the fire-battered community deal with a new inferno sparked by a flat tire. “Give me a break,” we plead as a violent windstorm snaps healthy Ponderosa pines and aspens. And when lightning begins anew the following night, we just roll our eyes in disbelief and consider leaving the cinema. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to walk out on this one.

I have a much clearer view of my neighbors now, thanks to the windstorm, and I’m reading this as a bit of a metaphor. When the first fires broke out and we lost power, we relied on actual conversations with people to get news and offer support. When those affected by the Rising Eagle Road fire were evacuated, friends and neighbors were driving around with trailers, helping others get their possessions, load their animals, and set up their sprinklers. We’re all seeing a lot more of the people around us, and it’s both productive and reassuring. As we hunker down for the long haul, we’re reminded that the only way we’re going to get through this summer is with the help of our friends and our community.

Sunday night’s moon was hauntingly beautiful; a perfect waxing quarter floating in and out of visibility as storm clouds drifted across the sky. The moon was so luminous that I went inside to consult my resources to figure out if it was some kind of special moon or just a regular old beautiful moon.

And it turns out that it was something somewhat special, as it was near both Mars and Saturn and was only half illuminated by the sun. But the most interesting part to me was learning the word “terminator” (in this context), which is the shadow line that divides the lunar day from lunar night. As I thought about this concept—a clear line that marks the end of a period of darkness and uncertainty and the beginning of lightness and clarity—I could only hope that we in the Methow Valley are also on the cusp of a terminator, when we can put some of the blackness of the past three weeks behind us and enjoy brighter days ahead.