Requiem for a Firefighter

Requiem for a Firefighter. ©2010 Lisa McShane. Oil on Canvas. 22" x 40".
This June my youngest cousin died while fighting a fire near Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Washington. We went to his memorial service and it was one of those times in life when things come into sharp focus. We're a big family but all of my cousins were there; so glad to see each other. 300 or so neighbors from this very rural area were there to celebrate his life.

He'd lived a full and vibrant life. He was one of those kids who was always in trouble. I think he totaled two family vehicles before he got his driver's license. But he grew up to own a trucking company, to serve as Fire Chief and to be loved by many, many people.

Driving back to my mother-in-law's home that evening I was struck - as I often am in Eastern Washington - by the beauty of the area and the saturated light.