Up In Smoke

Published: June 8, 2023
Category: Mental Health

As acrid smoke from Canadian wildfires descended on the Northeastern United States, the red Sun ominously hung in a dark orange sky. Unfortunately, this wasn’t some newly released doomsday video game. Instead, it was just the dawn of another climate disaster dejour that activated a trauma response in me—even though I was 1,243 miles away in sunny Miami Beach. 

My spontaneous one-week birthday getaway was scheduled to begin a few days after our family commemorated the 25th anniversary of my brother Gary’s sudden death. Simply put, I wanted to sit on the beach, gaze at the ocean, read a couple of good books, and take long walks. This would be a gentle way to ease into a new birthday year, catch my breath, and rejuvenate my soul after moving through the emotional reverberations of the anniversary.

There’s a certain irony in the timing because Gary died of an asthma-induced heart attack triggered by toxic smoke from forest fires starting in Texas that raged across Florida. Here I was in his happy place while my mother and family were having a visceral reaction to the weather-based house arrest up North.

After FaceTiming my family and agreeing to speak in the morning, I glanced out the window to discover the last vestiges of a rainbow, the ultimate sign of hope and renewal. 

Wherever you are located in the world, I’m sending you strength and love.

Soaringwords is the power to heal.

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