Friday, August 21, 2020

The Fire Next Time is Now— Revisiting Murfin Verse

Redwoods burn in California's Big Basin State Park near Santa Cruz.

In record breaking heat more than 100 wildfires are now burning in California and other western states.  It is so bad that the Big Basin Redwoods northeast of Santa Cruz, the California’s oldest and most treasured State Park.  The rugged valleys nestled in steep mountains near the Pacific Coast are usually immune from such big fires because dense fog dampens the ancient Redwoods most mornings keeping them damp.  Smaller seasonal fires do burn there and serve to clear underbrush far below the crowns of the big trees.  But this year those crowns are super dry kindling for wind-whipped fires.
“We are devastated to report that Big Basin, as we have known it, loved it, and cherished it for generations, is gone,” said the Sempervirens Fund in a statement. “Early reports are that the wildfire has consumed much of the park’s historic facilities. We do not yet know the fate of the park’s grandest old trees.”

A California inferno.
Western wildfires last year were even more intense and widespread.  And devastating fires also swept Arctic regions of North America and Asia, broad swaths of Australia to the very edge of Sydney, European forests, in Amazonia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 
At the same time accelerating global climate change was melting glaciers and sea ice, raising ocean levels, and threatening low lying islands and coastal regions.  Disaster everywhere you looked.
Almost a year ago I was moved by those horrific events to write a poem which once again seems apt.

The Fire Next Time is Now
August 27, 2019

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
           —2 Peter 3: 5-7  The Bible New King James Version

Okay, so Biblical Prophecy is not my thing.
Mumbo-jumbo, mystic-tristick bullshit.
It gives me a rash and a headache.

But this creeps me out, you know?
            Cripes look at the headlines!
                        Record Heat Wave Feeds Massive Australian Bush Fires
                        Wildfires Permanently Alter Alaska’s Forest Composition
                        Huge Wildfires in the Arctic and Far North Send a Planetary Warning
                        Siberia is Burning!
                        Lungs of the World Ablaze in the Amazon
                        More Fires Now Burning in Angola, Congo Than Amazon.

Maybe Peter, or whoever wrote in his name,
            was onto something after all.
            I don’t know exactly who is un-godly
—me probably, you maybe,
those guys over there,
but maybe the day of judgement and perdition
is on us all after all.

We failed somehow despite the warnings
            of a thousand Prophets, Jeremiahs, and Cassandras
            who warned us over and over
            to do something before it’s too late.

Is it too late really?  We beg for answers from the Holy seers.
            Hear our plea
                        Al Gore
                        Neil deGrasse Tyson
                        Gagged scientists of NOAA and NASA
Greta Thunberg  and your children’s crusade.
                        Elders of the Alaskan Nunakauyarmiut Tribe

Can we wake up, you know, like Scrooge on Christmas morning
            fresh and new, our eyes wide open
            and throw open the shutters to buy the world
            a turkey and a second chance?

Probably not that easy.

But you know what’s worse?
            That Bible guy said no flood this time,
            but he was wrong—
            the oceans rise, the world sinks
            Fire and Flood
                        Fire and Flood.
                                    Fire and Flood

—Patrick Murfin
Fire and floo,Fire and f;ood.

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