Pop Culture Gadabout
Monday, July 11, 2011
      ( 7/11/2011 04:57:00 AM ) Bill S.  

FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, LIGHTNING IN THE AIR: When I stepped outside the house Saturday morning, the first thing I noticed was the sound of thunder on the mountain. Mt. Graham was cloud covered, and you could see occasional lightning flashes, but from what I could tell at a distance there wasn’t any rain falling. The second thing I noticed was the smell of smoke, but I couldn’t see where it was coming from where I was standing in the yard. It wasn’t until later that I was able to see the billowing on the mountain five miles south of us off Swift Trails Road in the Marijilda Region. Mount Graham had its first summer wild fire of the year.

Went onto the Eastern Arizona Courier website and was told there that the cause of the fire was unknown, but from the all the lightning I’d seen earlier I’d wager that the cause was natural -- not, as our esteemed Senator McCain would probably have it, caused by Illegals hiding in the woods. At some level, the question of cause is rather moot, but as I considered the power of lightning, I thought about how our view of the universe is determined by the natural disasters we’ve seen or experienced.

I spent most of my life in the Midwest where the biggest, most common form of disaster that we know is the tornado. (Back in the late sixties, I remember experiencing one of Illinois’ infrequent earthquakes: it was the first year I was living in a high-rise dorm and I woke up feeling the building sway, not knowing what the heck was going on.) Tornadoes, as we all know from movies, can be pretty dangerous, but they never seem quite as scary as fire. Perhaps we should blame the Wizard of Oz for this. As a teen, I remember more than once standing on the front porch with my dad during a Tornado Warning, eagerly scanning the skies for the sight of a funnel cloud. It was more exciting than frightening at the time – but, then, I was a kid, what did I know?

As an adult, I’ve learned to be scared of more things: not necessarily the best aspect of maturity, but I supposed I’m not alone in this. Seeing that fire on the mountain at night – when you could actually see the flames within the trees – was one more source of anxiety in a life filled with plenty of everyday ones: financial worries, car troubles, job stress, the usual suspects. Watching the conflagration, indulging in worst case scenarios, I found myself thinking, “This is not a good time for this to be happening.” But then I realized: when is it a good time? There is no good time for natural disasters; that’s what makes ‘em disasters.

By Sunday afternoon, the fire appeared to be contained on the mountain: no full-blown incident like the recent Wallow fire in Arizona. Good news, but I still can’t stop thinking about the different ways we can take an event like this. Is it a reflection of the random, indifferent ways of nature? Or is there cause and effect that we’re not fully privy to? Is it a sign of a punitive supreme being? (Are we Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?) Or is it meant to be a test or trial for us to endure?

Perhaps it’s just a fire and nothing more, but, then, I’ve let my mind meander into Big Questions with even less of a prompting. Looking at that night glow, at a distance so beautiful and yet so silently ominous, it’s hard not to want to make it mean more . . .

(An earlier draft of this piece was read as a part of the Desert Oasis Unitarian meeting Sunday.)


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter