This has not been a good summer.

He said, winning the Nobel prize for understatement.

So many things have been brought to the fore this summer. A pandemic to kick it off, and then through to death and unrest on city streets.

The last few weeks, I have been breathing smoke. The sun rose a deep orange, and set in a sky of amber hues. The temperature only went under ninety when the blood red moon replaced the sun. I kept my mask on all the time. The air felt like gravel in my lungs. I awoke constantly in the night, soaked in sweat, the back of my brain telling me to run, fire is near, run while you can.

When I did sleep, I dreamt of rain and snow. Of cold and my breath in the air. Of shivers and rubbing my arms to stay warm.

Change is coming. It is as certain as the seasons. Change is coming. The rains will come and sweep the smoke from the sky, and soon after the snow will crawl down the mountains and cover us.

The time in between will not be easy. The storms will bring down the slides of the mountains where the trees have been burned and are gone. The ash will clog the streams and rivers, and the water will taste bitter in our mouths. Houses left standing by the fire will be swept by water and mud.

The choice will be clear, like it was to those who built here before. Either persist, or trudge away in defeat, broken by the fire even after it is gone.

There is a way forward. It isn’t the way many of us wanted to walk, but it is the only way. We must work together. Without this simple act, we will get nowhere. Winter will come, and there will be scars all around, brokenness all around, loss all around. But some of us, those to stand together, will still be here to face it, banded together and strong.

And those of us who work together to change and make our world better will breathe deep when spring comes, awash in the green of a new season, awash in the riot of color of new blooms.

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