Here we go again. But this time, it's a whole lot closer to home.
So close that even reporting on the 11-day-old Pack Rat Fire seems pretty unnecessary like informing someone that there's a skunk in the kitchen. Chances are, they know.
The Rodeo-Chediski Fire was disconcerting enough. If you looked down Highway 260, you could see it. You considered the possibility that it could rage toward Payson or its surrounding communities, but it didn't induce white knuckles.
Right now, there are quite a few white knuckles to be found in Washington Park, Rim Trail, Verde Glen and Cowan Ranch, all just eight miles east of Pine. All in much the same path as Linden, Show Low, Heber and Overgaard were just weeks ago.
And in Payson, when you look north from just about anywhere, what you see pouring into the heavens cannot be mistaken for clouds. What you see is danger that grew from 210 acres Saturday to 1,210 acres today. Danger that has thus far eluded all efforts at containment. Sunday, the fire was reported to be 75 percent contained. This morning, that number was reduced to 25 percent thanks according to one report to a single burning log.
That log serves as the perfect symbol for the nature of wildfire and everything else in nature's realm. Humans can convince themselves that they are in control. But they never really are. Not completely, anyway.
But we can help to control events in another way.
There have been medical studies not religious studies, not New Age studies, but medical studies which have proven that prayer has a positive effect on those who are being prayed for, even when they don't know they are the subjects of anyone's prayers.
In other words, there is always something that we can do for our neighbors and ourselves, even when nature is in control.
Even in the face of the Rim country's worst nightmare.