A small group of rancher’s wives huddle together in a kitchen to share the burden of the wait. The flames have passed this home and the cattle are accounted for. The pasture is gone “but just think,” one says, absently twirling her wedding band on her finger, “how green it’ll be in a few weeks.”
“Lord,” one woman murmers, her voice is sweet and steeped in the twang of red dirt country. “We come before Your throne today to thank You.”
She and her husband lost every acre of summer grass they had and a handful of bred cows this morning. She knows what it is to see a strong man crumble but her praise is unwavering. Her thank you is sincere and it’s her natural reaction after years of providence and prayer.
“We thank you for the neighbors fighting this fire,” she tilts her head back to let a tear roll out the corner of her eye. “We thank you for the safety of our families and for the cattle and the homes that have been spared.”
She cried hot tears of frustration watching the well meaning news anchor report that, “not many people live in the area so few homes are threatened, just open land”. The acre count was at 400,000 at the last report. Reporters stood on gravel roads in sensible shoes and watched the tractors and road graders roll through.
“We pray the wind will slow,” her voice lets a thread of tension through as the wind gusts and dirt peppers the window. “and we pray that You send rain to slow this beast.”
She pushes her hair behind her ear and tenderly pulls her hand back. Across her palm is a burn from grasping hot wire in an attempt to move it from cows’ legs. She didn’t care at the time.
“We thank you, Lord,” she says. “We thank you for the blessings we’ve received and for keeping us safe.”
Another woman stands back a bit from the group, swaying with a baby on her hip. Her husband hasn’t been home in two days. The pilot called though and told him he thought their home was still there.
“As the day nears that we celebrate You, Lord,” she strains to see out the kitchen window to see the driver of the arriving pickup against the glowing sky. “We know You are risen and out of these ashes, we know You will give us the strength to rise and rebuild.”