Just before dusk on the second day
of the wildfires that swept up from Oklahoma
into western Kansas a hundred miles away,
we could see the smoke in the air,
a faint forming of haze in the evening sky
that gave no true sense of where the fires
might be burning.
Later then, after we could smell the smoke,
we could see a giant halo
hovering around the full moon
that rose up from the trees
against a muted sky.
We learned later of fields and cows
scorched by the burn,
of houses and barns
turned into ash.
Easter seemed to come
into some sort of dark stench
of sin and shame,
of pain and loss
and awful costs
born by others.
And then on Saturday
snow fell full and deep on the prairie,
a serene covering of blackened earth.
With the dawning of Resurrection Day,
it lay softly against the burns,
soothing the yearning of deeper roots
that will send up shoots of green
in the deepening spring
that follows the sting of suffering.
We often do not know
the fires that burn in others’ lives,
the deeper wounds that anchor scars,
but beneath the smell of smoke
and the feel of darkened skies,
we may know the price
that has been paid for ours.