West Virginia is dry as a bone right now, although it may rain tomorrow inshallah. It's so dry that dust springs up when our dogs walk across the field. The creek is dry except for a few holdout holes for the first time since 2012. Oh yeah, and fire season is approaching.
Fall brush fires around here are not as catastrophic (for now) as those in California and other places, but they can be pretty scary. I remember one year when you could see long lines of fire snaking along the mountains of Logan County. In fact, the one on-duty injury I sustained in my short, happy and inglorious career as a volunteer fire fighter happened during a brush fire.
(Actually, it was a burn from a flare, but the flare started it.)
Anyhow, fire season and managing woodlands has gotten a bit harder lately, since the state had to lay off 37 foresters due to legislative inaction. Come to think of it, those guys might have been useful in reducing the impact of severe flooding in the future by monitoring the damage done by corporate clear cutters.
Holy hashtag failed state, Batman!
Meanwhile, the state's opioid crisis keeps rippling out. This WV Public Broadcasting story explores how it's impacting the foster care system in the state.
And, while we're at it, here's an op-ed by my friend the Rev. Matthew J. Watts about what might happen politically if all of the state's convicted felons voted. They can in WV, but many don't vote or even realize that it's legal here.
Finally, a little over a year ago I was part of an AFSC delegation to Palestine. I have many grim and sad memories of the trip. However, I have nothing but fondness when I think back on hanging with comrades and drinking Taybeh, a primo Palestinian beer.