Just as the last match’s flame shrunk and died out, along with all hope, the earth itself grew bright. And emerging not so much from the glowing forest as from the sky itself, in flew the specter she had been longing to see, on ethereal wingbeats, black and white and red, substantial yet somehow... She pulled her stiff and heavy arms up and followed the bird with her camera, clicking over and over and over. Photo after photo, until as the bird winged past her with a soft breath of feathers against her face, everything disappeared in a strange burst of brilliant white and red.
The Forest Service helicopter pilot was jolted to see white and red sparks flying above the trees over the wilderness. Fire! But the red sparks looked more crimson than orange, and he’d never seen a forest fire spurt white sparks. And there was no smoke. The response team was shocked—despite the fading but still unearthly glow, the forest was quiet and empty. All they found was a pile of burnt-out matches and a digital camera which was never claimed at the Forest Service office. Months later, in