The rain came! It started with a gentle drizzle, softly soaking the ground. Fog enveloped the forest. It gradually progressed to a hard pouring rain with dramatic lightning and thunder. The rain barrels and buckets and pots and pans that I put out, to catch as many drops as possible, quickly filled. I feel rich in water.

The creeks and rivers briefly trickled. The forest feels green and fertile again. I’m looking at my evacuation plan, the boxes to take with me. Is it okay to let go of that? An inch or two of precipitation is not enough to restore the water table. The fires have been dampened but not put out. According to the Forest Service, smoldering duff and stumps will not be extinguished until snow falls. The woods are still stressed by drought. There is little rain in the future forecast.

What is the half-life of fear? I find myself still in get-ready mode. It makes me realize how much energy I used in preparing to evacuate. I’m grateful the fire didn’t get here. I know that others have not been so lucky.

One of the best things about the rain coming is that we are no longer breathing smoke 24 hours a day. The sky is not orange, but blue! The air is clear and fresh. I can breathe deeply. I can breathe in everything I need. I can breathe out everything I don’t.