It's an El Niño year, is it not? It has been so hot and dry on Saipan lately. Hotter and drier than I ever remember it being. It reminds me of summers in southern California. Summers so scorching hot the dry desert air would leave me feeling completely and painfully dehydrated after a 15 minute walk. Although on Saipan the air is humid; it's the land that is dry. Dry and cracking. Greens are fading to patches of gold and brown; a sight I've never before seen on Saipan - it seems biblical in nature. I feel this dry season gives a new meaning to the phrase "desert island".
It has been so hot and so dry that we have had several brush fires around the island; especially up where we live - and the smoke and ashes are further aggravating our already severe allergies caused by the layer of dust that seems to be covering the entire island because a real Saipan rain hasn't touched the ground in weeks.
There were two fires today. One on either side of our family property. The fire that was southeast of us was encroaching on my cousin's house. The house where he, his wife, and three children live. The fire that was northeast of us was on my uncle's property. It was quickly approaching our houses as the wind blew the flames southwest. We could hear the crackling of burning grass and leaves and wood. We saw smoke blowing down the hillside. It came in our house, it filled our nostrils and lungs, it clung to our clothes and seeped into our linens.
My poor son's allergies have just been terrible because of the dryness, absolutely terrible. There was no way I was going to let him stay there with smoke coming into our home from every open window and door (plus that whole oh my goodness we have two fires coming toward our house thing). So I packed up four kids and their half eaten happy meals and we prayed as we drove. We stopped over at the playground at Micro Beach. We stayed until my mom called to let me know the fires were out; one fire truck had left and the other would leave soon. The fires were out, but they smoldered for hours afterward.
Praise the Lord that the fires are out and our homes are safe! But Saipan needs rain. Please pray for rain for our dry thirsty island.