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  • steelejay49

First Impressions

Over the past summer we had an extremely long dry spell. For a period of over two hot months, we had less than one-tenth of an inch of rain. Everything was bone dry.  Just walking through the woods, you could hear the dry brush cracking underneath your feet. On windy days the weather service would issue red-flag warnings to keep forest fires from starting. It was bad enough that the “dry” thunderstorms could spark a fire with lightning. We didn’t need careless campfires starting an inferno. Then it happened. What everyone was fearing suddenly appeared: a rapid-moving fire in the dry pine woods that was spreading quickly towards town. Fear spread more quickly than the fire. Positioned in the right spot at the right time, I was lucky enough to get this photo before I had to quickly flee for my safety. Fortunately, I was able to get away unharmed.

Sounds like a front-page story for tomorrow’s local newspaper. But it isn’t. Not one part of this is true. Even the picture is not of a forest fire. It’s a picture of the sunrise through the fog-shrouded pine trees that I took on a quiet, still morning. But at a quick glance the first impression of the picture supports the fabricated story.

How often are our first impressions at a quick glance totally wrong? How often do we jump to conclusions based on faulty logic or false assumptions? A former colleague used to say quite often that many times we are too quick to believe our assumptions. Even the adage that seeing is believing isn’t true. “I see a forest fire!” Not really, it only looks that way until I study it a little bit longer. Maybe I need to stop believing my assumptions so quickly. How quick were you to believe my story through my photograph? Think about it.

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