"Through the Flames" by Emma Landry
A heavy grey smeared itself throughout the sky once again, the toxins intruding into our lungs, an all too familiar reminder of an even darker past. The sharp orange glows from behind the hills as the flames begin to creep over, threatening the land and people below, causing a flurry of panic to spread throughout. The people flee and the land is left abandoned in their rearview mirrors as the superheroes in yellow struggle to win the unbeatable war. It's a losing battle. The monster has already established itself and begun its annihilation, but they remain unwavering in their efforts. The flames obliterate acres and acres, leveling all structures and life in its path. As the inferno rages on, destruction ensues, but the battle continues.
Through the ash, and the pain, and the destruction, past the darkness and the smoke-blurred skies, there is an inkling of rebirth. The curves of the mountains have become blackened and defined as the edges of the landscape. The picture has been outlined in stark black ink. The artwork of nature, of the green and life, has simply been turned to black and white. The land has been reduced to its simplest form just to grow back stronger than ever before. Eventually, the black and white photo that has plagued our landscape will be back to its vibrancy once again. The trees will grow back, fresh from their roots, and the animals will return to their original homes. The ash will give way to new light, and the air will breathe fresh once again.
The land is reborn. Birth is daunting, but without it, there is no growth. The tragedy is not to be ignored or lessened by the romanticization of such devastating events, rather the beauty of such a traumatic situation stands to provide even the smallest feeling of comfort that there may be a dim light hiding somewhere at the end of this intensely horrific tunnel. In a community plagued by grief, we know better than most how to band together to help those in need. Try to see the beauty in the black and white, embrace the opportunity for regrowth, and watch in awe as it turns to color.