A few years ago, a woman whose name I don’t remember, decided that because her boyfriend broke up with her, she would start a forest fire…to get even with him. An odd thought since she was a fire fighter for the forest service, and he was not. She got caught because she left his note where she set the fire. I’m sure she thought the evidence would be burned up, but somehow it wasn’t. She is now serving time in federal prison for her acts of total disregard for the safety of others, and for destruction of federal property. That really hurt her ex-boyfriend, right. I mean, she is in prison, and they are not back together. Maybe he saw something in her that others didn’t see, like psychotic tendencies.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not without feelings. I just don’t understand why she would destroy a forest that will take years to come back…if it ever does. I love the Black Hills, which is where this woman chose to unleash her rage, and I hate to see such a beautiful place so battered and scarred by the vicious acts of one woman. The forest will take many years to even resemble the beautiful place it was back then. I will always love it , scarred or beautiful, and I know fires can happen that could bring the same result as this, but they will not be deliberate, and that makes all the difference to me. If she was looking for fame or pity, she failed miserably in her quest, because it is not her name I remember, just what she did.

Every time I come into the Black Hills, I must now drive through that reminder, as well as every time I leave. I am very saddened, because in Wyoming, trees are not so abundant, and there is a lot more open spaces and…well, I love the forest. It is so hard to drive through my beloved Black Hills looking like a tornado just went through. And that is how it will be for some time to come.

I feel like this woman has cheated so many people out of the beauty of this area. I try not to be angry, but it is really hard. I forgive her, because I know it is the right thing to do, and I hope that she has learned that this was no solution, and she is probably better off without the ex-boyfriend. I hope she can turn her life around and because the way she has chosen so far is hurtful to herself and to those around her.

There is so much negativity in our world today. Our children rage over everything. The internet is filled kids and adults cussing each other out on the pages of Facebook, My Space, Twitter and more. The fights are very public and very ugly. And after the original post, come all the comments, some in full cuss mode agreement, while others chew out the person who said such awful stuff in the first place, and then those who try to console the poor abused one. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I know that the life of a teenager and very often adults, can be hard, but is the internet the proper place to vent our anger, and the reality of it is that anger and bitterness just breeds more anger and bitterness.

When we decide to have a “pity party” the goal is to get a lot of people into it and thereby make ourselves feel better, because we know that so many people care about us, but it’s funny how after the party is over, we just go back to feeling bad and because we haven’t tried to be happy in life, we can easily end up being a bitter, hateful, lonely person.

Being angry and raging at the culprit doesn’t succeed in making us feel better, no matter how much we would like it too. When we are angry, we sit an brood over the problem, and continue to get angrier and angrier. And yet we continue to think that getting it all out will somehow help. All we are doing is planting a seed of bitterness by raging in the first place, and watering that seed by brooding over the problem.

We all make mistakes, and quite possibly if we try to be understanding of other people’s shortcomings, they would return the favor. Happiness is contagious, as is kindness, understanding, forgiveness and patience. We should all pass it on.

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