Many of Hippie Chick’s fans know she is a kitty raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, just a short drive from Gatlinburg – a city recently ravaged by wildfires that scorched the beauty of the area, leaving death and destruction for people and animals.
While HC and her Momma, JB, were safe in their home, hell on earth was unleashed just a few miles away. Life in these mountain parts will never be the same. East Tennessee has lost lives and property and we know in our hearts something else is gone – the comfort of feeling safe and secure in our little part of the world.
When the unthinkable happens in life, we look for signs and meaning, messages to help us stay sane and rational in a world of chaos. We either give in and give up, becoming numb, or we dig in and persevere emerging stronger for the battle.
Local news reports in the aftermath of the fires shared incredible stories of survival, from mothers and fathers, grandparents, kids, tourists and business owners to cats and dogs and even pigs.
One pet pig named Charles had a story that stood out from the rest. As the fire raged across the city, Charles was left behind by his family as they fled the inferno. The family was heartbroken to leave him and when they returned a few days later, they expected to find the worst. And, they did. Their home was destroyed. But Charles, he was still there and very much alive. Singed and dehydrated, he withstood temps of 800 degrees because he burrowed down in the mud as the flames lapped all around. He hunkered down, immersed himself in the muck, and dug in.
Charles is expected to recover fully and his family is elated to have their pet pig no worse for the battle.
Who would imagine that the sign we need to give us hope would come in the form of a pig? But Charles is that lesson for how we can survive life’s most unforgiving storms.
We’ve got to entrench in the mud, feel the heat all around, but wait for the fire to pass. It always does and afterwards we can choose to emerge more resilient than we’ve ever been before.
The Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg will recover, just like Charles the pig. It’s going to take a long while and it won’t be easy, but the mud is there. All we have to do is dig in.
Charles, after surviving a wildfire that raged all around him.