The nightmares of fire still come even after mid-Trail recieved 9.6 inches of rain on the 6th of September. A neighbor phoned yesterday morning to tell us she saw a puff of smoke and alerted the USFS of possible fire. A beaver flew overhead to check it out and then reported there was nothing to worry about, just a strange looking cloud overhead.
Are those of us living at the end of the Gunflint Trail a bit paranoid? Nah, just suffering from a little bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can happen after a terrifying event or ordeal such as war or a natural disaster. It can leave people feeling high levels of anxiety and suffering from a multitude of symptoms including nightmares, flashbacks, numbness and loss of interest in things which were once important to the individual.
Every time I see a tree that was burned or a vacant lot where a house once stood I can’t help but think of the terror that enveloped all of us for days on end. The fear of losing our homes, posessions, trees, lives or livliehood, it was alot to process. The flames popping up everywhere; alongside the road, next to homes and in my favorite forested areas. The sense of loss, the changing wilderness that will never be the same in my lifetime.
Even after the rain the fear still persists. The eyes on alert for suspicious clouds and the nose sniffing for smoke in the air. Maybe when the snow flies our fears, rational or irrational, will be alleviated, then again maybe not.