Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vapour of Smoke

A few days before Christmas our farm experienced a catastrophic fire in the chicken coup. We knew nothing of the fire while in process. On leaving the farm the next morning for work, I drove around the curve in the road past the chicken coup, and a glance toward the coup registered a moment later-- there was no coup. By that time I was down the driveway a distance, and I slowed down straining to see the coup. But there was no coup on the far side of the grapes. No roof line proudly jutting over the arbors.

I walked back to the coup, stood dumbfounded. All that was left was some wire mesh and the foundation stones. The air was still. Everything was quiet. The only movement was a tiny vapor of smoke rising from the center of what had once been the coup.

It is hard to believe that an entire structure would just vanish overnight. Sadly, our feathered friends all perished. As far as I can guess this relates in some way to a heat light that was nailed to the coup inner wall.

Out of catastrophe, we seek to draw some meaning, What lesson can we learn? I am sure there are many things we should learn from this experience, and if we or someone is saved a greater catastrophe, then the loss is not entirely in vain. 

First, life is fragile. No one is invincible. The very structure that was for years their protection, on this night was their mortality. Accidents can happen in a split second, and in that moment, everything can change.

Second, if things might go wrong, then sooner or later they will-- especially with animals involved. The wiring to the coup was all standard wiring, and wire connections in standard electrical boxes. I don't see that being the issue. If the heat lamp somehow got dislodged off the wall, and somehow fall face down (it had an aluminum shroud), and somehow got hot enough to burn, but not hot enough to burst, and somehow caught the coup on fire.... In the absence of anything else that makes sense, I have to think all of these some how's where met. So the lesson in this point would be plan ahead for disaster, no matter how remote that disaster seems today. 

And third, I would suggest that we all take fire really seriously. If you heat with wood as we do, then you need to be really, really careful of what is around the fire box. Structure fires are hot and can (evidently) burn till there is nothing left.

We look forward to another day: "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke." Acts 2:19.